Health practitioners under their umbrella body Uganda Medical Association (UMA) have tasked the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah (pictured) to champion legislation to improve the healthcare system in the country upon his recovery.
Oulanyah is currently hospitalized in Seattle City in the United States of America where he was rushed on February 3, 2022, because of deteriorating health. Oulanyah was first admitted at Mulago National Referral Hospital but his doctors recommended his transfer to receive specialised treatment.
He was flown aboard Uganda Airline Airbus A330-800 neo at US$ 563,000 (Shillings 2 billion) to receive high-end medical care on taxpayers’ money, sparking protests by Ugandans at home and the diaspora.
It is against this background that Dr Samuel Odong Oledo, the UMA President, says upon his return, Oulanyah owes Ugandans a duty to spearhead legislation to upgrade health facilities, equip them with drugs and specialised Doctors.
Dr Oledo argues that several competent Ugandan Doctors have left the country for greener pastures, saying there is a need for the government to incentivize their services to enable them to return to serve at home.
Dr Oledo pointed out that health sector funding continues to dwindle coupled with reduced foreign aid. He asked the Government to expedite the rollout of the national health insurance scheme to salvage the ailing health sector.
On Thursday last week, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Annet Among told MPs during plenary that Oulanyah was recuperating. At the same time, Clerics, local leaders and the public in Acholi convened prayers at Gulu City Council yard to pray for his quick recovery.
Oulanyah also took his Twitter [email protected] and thanked Ugandans for their prayers and concerns about his wellbeing. “Fellow Ugandans, my deepest appreciation for your well-wishes and prayers; I wish you God’s blessings,” he tweeted.
However, the Tweet attracted mixed responses from his social media followers who implored him to advocate for the upgrade of health facilities at home with better and specialized services upon his return.
They argued that not all citizens are privileged to be flown abroad for specialized healthcare. In 2019, the Government earmarked guaranteed a loan of Shillings 1.4 trillion for SPV Finasi Roko led by Enrica Pinetti an Italian Investor to construct Lubowa International Specialized Hospital in Wakiso District.
To date, no commendable work has been reported at the site. Uganda continues to spend US$ 150 million approximately Shillings 526 billion annually to fly high ranking dignitaries abroad for specialized medical treatment at the expense of the taxpayers’ money.
Founded in 1964, UMA is the national professional umbrella body of over 7,000 doctors exclusively drawn from duly registered medical practitioners both within the country and those in the diaspora.