Fundraising Shows Government Failure [editorial]

The recent deaths of media personalities Bbale Francis and Rosemary Nankabirwa, both of whom succumbed to cancer, speak to the inadequacy of our healthcare system and the hypocrisy of our leaders whose responsibility it is to improve it.

For both Francis and Nankabirwa, friends had to fundraise in order to give them medical attention that they couldn’t afford on their own. Nankabirwa’s group of friends and wellwishers in particular set up an impressive fundraising machine to enable her get treatment in Nairobi but in the end it was too late.

A lot has been written about Uganda’s ailing health sector but nothing appears to change so, we have to continue lamenting and hoping that things can improve. If our healthcare system was up to scratch, first of all there would have been no need to fundraise, as a decent and equitable national health insurance scheme would have taken care of the medical bills of these two individuals.

Secondly, Nankabirwa needn’t have flown to Kenya if Uganda had all the facilities needed to treat her condition. Ironically, President Museveni was one of the people who contributed to the Nankabirwa fundraising effort he gave – Shs 5m.

While his generosity should be acknowledged, ideally he should not be taking any credit but, rather, responsibility for this state of affairs.

As president, it’s his job to improve Uganda’s healthcare system. He should work at this for the benefit of all Ugandans instead of jumping onto a popular cause for cheap political capital.

There are probably tens of thousands of people in Uganda facing the same predicament as Nankabirwa and Francis. But they are not in position to benefit from a fundraising campaign or attract the president’s attention because they are ordinary souls.

President Museveni is the best placed person to make a fundamental difference in Uganda’s health sector. Ordinary Ugandans do not expect handouts from him but, rather, the transformation of the country’s healthcare.

This applies to other sectors too. After Joan Kagezi, the assistant director of public prosecutions, was gunned down last month, yet another fundraising drive was sent in motion to fund her children’s education, and again President Museveni stepped in.

Why not fix the education system for all Ugandans instead of making isolated donations to a few well-known people?

Source : The Observer

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