Ugandan Diaspora News | Letter from the Editor | May 2013 | Labor Day & Graduation Fever!
Greetings from Kampala — Where I had to rush back to attend to my Mother who was not well. On April 20th she underwent some corrective surgery to clear the blockage in her eusophegus. This whole procedure was a tough on us as a family since we had to look for and engage specialists but luckily for us it all went well and my Mom is now undergoing some rehabilitation and therapeutic care. Sometimes we look down on what our nation has to offer but I was impressed by the nursing staff at IHK and the team at their Intensive Care Unit. For Ugandan standards they try but what is equally disturbing is that it has to take a loved one to be in harms way in order to appreciate just how much our healthcare system needs immediate overhaul.
Healthcare in Uganda is now pegged to price. Some of the equipment and the treatment is so expensive that one would think the government needs to re-assess its priorities while allocating the healthcare budget. For example the national referral hospital that was constructed by the British as an Independence gift was handed over with about 800 beds then population was 6 million Ugandans.
Today we are 35 Million and very little in terms of health centers and fully functioning community hospitals seem to be available apart of course from the private hospitals like IHK, Case Clinic, Nakesero Hospital and Kololo hospital. These ofcourse seem to favor those with deep pockets. But shouldn’t affordable healthcare be a fundamental human right for all Ugandans the same way Universal free Education has become? Equally disturbing is the doctor to patient ratio in as much as Makerere Medical School is the best in East Africa and continues to churn out doctors many opt to pursue careers abroad were pay is more attractive.
Ugandans ought to demand for accountability from the powers that be and also make their choices count during the 2016 general elections, This politics of offering lip service while people continue to suffer and live in abject poverty and poor health conditions needs to come to an end. It was amazing to learn that we now have less than 6 imaging centers in the country. Kampala Imaging Services offers the badly needed Medical imaging and Radiology services in Uganda. How are we expected to work for For God and Country when our leaders are working For Self and Family.
When I inquired I was told that this imaging equipment can be bought at $200,000 dollars per unit but when you compare what we spend on defense and other sectors we actually should be ashamed that those Ugandans deep down in the village will die perhaps from a preventable illness just because the country health centers are not equipped with technology, drugs or even the trained personnel to attend to their needs. The newly opened Naguru referral hospital has its own tale – http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Naguru-hospital-nurses-stretched–says-director/-/688334/1755606/-/ak3qvhz/-/index.html
The other big story from last month was the attacks in Boston during the Boston Marathon. Just when we thought that Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network were no more two Chechen brothers attacked innocent sportsmen and bystanders in Boston leaving some amputees. We need to keep vigilant and know the environment in which we live because these so called terrorists will do their best to blend into normal lifestyles and wreack havoc. However our hearts go out to all those who suffered loss and harm due to this senseless act. http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2013/04/15/cnn-photos-2-deadly-bombs-strike-boston-marathon-3rd-blast-strikes-jfk-library/
On a positive note I had the rare opportunity to engage the new US ambassador to Uganda on a wide range of topical issues about Uganda at his residence in Kololo. Amb. DeLisi articulated his position on Kony, Corruption, Gay rights, Terms limits and Tourism in Uganda in a detailed 45 minute sit down interview , see link to learn more about our interaction at his residence — http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2013/04/17/ugandan-diaspora-news-in-a-sit-down-interview-with-the-us-ambassador-to-uganda-amb-scott-delisi/
Also happening last month was a Royal Wedding of someone I am very proud to call a friend. Prince David Kintu Wasajja the younger brother to Buganda’s King wed his Princess Marion Elizebeth Nankya in a colorful ceremony at Rubaga Cathedral and also held a powerful reception at the King’s Palace at the Twekobe. In case you missed out on the highlights and some of the Kodak moments please visit the link below to learn more. http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2013/04/27/prince-david-kintu-wasajja-weds-his-princess-marion-elizabeth-nankya-in-colorful-royal-wedding/
However of all the news stories from last month it is President Museveni donating a sack of cash to the Basoga youth that perhaps carries the day, it was also a trending story on Twitter under the hash-tag ‘sack of money’ and it also got lots of power play among many online news platforms. I couldn’t help but wonder how you begin to account for such funds at a time when government departments are now minimizing the use of cash transactions as a means to curtail corruption in their daily operations. Is this another reason why our State House budget always runs out before the end of each financial year? I will leave you to be the judge but just when our neighbors – Kenya is seemingly getting their act together it looks like we on the other hand are still lost in translation! http://www.monitor.co.ug/OpEd/Editorial/Sack-of-money-image-disturbing/-/689360/1755512/-/uhsp80z/-/index.html
It’s officially summertime in the northern hemisphere and the new month of May means that Memorial weekend festivities are about to begin. May Day parades are commemorated worldwide on 1st May as a day for workers’ rights. The struggle for the eight-hour day began in the 1860s. In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada, organized in 1881 (and changing its name in 1886 to American Federation of Labor ) passed a resolution which asserted that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s work from and after May 1, 1886, and that we recommend to labor organizations throughout this district that they so direct their laws as to conform to this resolution”. The following year the Federation repeated the declaration that an eight-hour system was to go into effect on May 1, 1886. With workers being forced to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, support for the eight-hour movement grew rapidly. [Fact file]
The Basoga Twegaite will be meeting for their community convention in Los Angeles at the LAX Marriott hotel from May 23 – May 27. Other planned events include graduations as many of the first generation Ugandan Diaspora families’ children are now graduating from college. We congratulate all those who have undergone intellectual liberation and encourage you all to pursue your dreams and aspirations in life. Education will open doors and also give purpose and direction to your life!
Finally I admonish you to treasure your parents if they are still here. Honor them so that you may live long as the bible says and if they have invested the best years of their lives in you be sure to pay back and return the favor. As they say you will never know how important your parents were in your life till they are no more! Happy Mothers Day!
When we choose to be parents, we accept another human being as part of ourselves, and a large part of our emotional selves will stay with that person as long as we live. From that time on, there will be another person on this earth whose orbit around us will affect us as surely as the moon affects the tides, and affect us in some ways more deeply than anyone else can. Our children are extensions of ourselves.
– Fred Rogers
MSc. Comm – Boston University
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