Every year government spends at least $150 million (about Shs377 billion) on treatment of mostly top government officials abroad,They include Government official, Members of Parliament, Senior Army Officers and other Civil Servants. It’s total madness for Uganda officials to go and seek for medical assistance in Nairobi Kenya while Uganda hospitals are rotten without medicine, staff and other medical professionals.
When you think about Kenya to have the best medical facilities and Uganda spending Millions of Shillings on Kenya hospitals it does not make any sense at all.You need to ask yourself why Kenya and how a normal man can pay school fees for the neighbour’s child while his are out on the streets even without books.
It cannot go on like this because Kenyan’s and Nairobi hospitals are not made in heaven, that we Ugandans we cannot reach.
A number of government officials have been in Kenya and around the World for medical treatment, while they are leaving Mulago Hospital and other health services without medicine. Take an example Former East Africa Minister the Late Hon Eriya Kategaya died in Nairobi, Late Brig Noble Mayombo died in Nairobi, RIP.While still in Uganda Winnie Byanyima gave birth to Dr Besigye’s son in Nairobi hospital. Hon Hillary Onek just has been in Nairobi for medical treatment.Hon Hussien Kyanjo just been to London for medical treatment, Hon Sam Kuteesa was in America for medical assistance, the list goes on and on. Just ask yourself why while we have hospitals in Uganda.
The money we spend is almost equal to Shs397.31 billion contributed towards the country’s Shs985.5 billion health budget, by donors.The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Doctor Asuman Lukwago, said that Uganda government spends $50,000 (shillings 130 million) on a single government official flown out of the country for treatment.
He says sometimes this excludes money for air tickets, hotel and other facilitation sometimes additional $30,000 may be added.
How can Parliament pass this Budget and MPs who claim to be representing people keep silent without informing the voters it’s quite utterly out of this world?
When the Government encourages investors to come and invest in Uganda they come to pay taxes, create jobs and build the economy, but not the same Government to take out the taxes they have paid to spend it on costs that are not helping the Ugandans and the economy.
The Government gave Sh32b for graduates to start business after University or other academicals qualifications, but just imagine how many jobs and business will be created if Shs377 billion that we spend on medical bill overseas was given out to graduates.
We cannot spend the little money we have on other people’s economy while ours is struggling; there is a need to improve on the health of our people by building at least one min Mulago size hospital in every religion of the country. And we must create a clean system where Doctors, Nurses, Midwives and other health workers are paid fairly so that they do not run away to other countries, and to stop them from stealing drugs from the hospitals where they work. Shs377 billion can be part of the new system that will help our people.
The President stated the need to reduce the medical bill spent overseas, but reducing is not the answer the answer must be to scarp it and stop it completely. Let’s spend this money back home and we will modernise our hospitals as our neighbour Kenya did and we will not run to them anymore.
A wise man asks why to buy cooked food in the restaurant while you have all what it takes to cook it yourself. Let’s stop spending Shs377 billion on medical bills abroad and let’s transfer our health system and give Ugandan taxpayers valve for their money and improved health that will help save lives.
Written by Peter Marco