Honour Dr. Mungherera’s wish for quality healthcare – MPs

Members of Parliament on Tuesday, 14th February 2017, tasked the government to fulfill the wishes of the late Dr. Margaret Mungherera for a quality health care system and better welfare for medical practitioners.

The legislators made the plea while paying tribute to the late Dr. Margaret Mungherera, a renowned Senior Consultant Psychiatrist who succumbed to cancer of the colon on Saturday, 4th February 2017 in India.

The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, who moved the motion in the House said that the country had lost an outstanding medical professional who had dedicated her life to improving medical services in Uganda.

"We will always remember her for writing the history of psychiatry and medical practice in Uganda," Rugunda said, adding that, "We have more young people choosing a career in psychiatry due to her mentorship. We need to start working towards the achievement of Dr. Mungherera's dream for a better medical system."

The Prime Minister noted that Dr. Mungherera was unanimously elected as President of the World Medical Association in Brazil in 2013, the second African and first African Woman to hold the coveted position. He added that she championed the working conditions and welfare of medical practitioners.

Hon. Ibrahim Semujju Nganda (FDC, Kyadondo East), while speaking on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition said that it was unfortunate to see Dr. Mungherera die of a disease she had fought.

"Dr. Mungherera lobbied for sufficient funding towards cancer treatment from the government yet it is unfortunate that she died of Cancer on World Cancer Day" Ssemujju said.

Ssemujju added that the government can actualize the dream of Dr. Mungherera by offering cancer patients in Uganda dignified treatment and care.

"The banker and machine for cancer screening and treatment are still lacking and yet we allocated funds to solve the issue," Ssemujju said, adding that, "One billion Uganda shillings is what is spent annually on cancer treatment by Ugandans according to a report of the Auditor General."

Dr. Michael Bukenya Iga (NRM, Bukuya County) and also Chairperson of the Committee on Health said that Dr. Mungherera was a passionate advocate of equitable distribution of remuneration and welfare of medical workers, equitable distribution of female health workers and quality health services.

"Let's pay tribute by respecting what she lived for. Let's get answers to the questions she raised on remuneration of medical workers and quality medical services for the general population," Dr. Bukenya said.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, explained that the House had taken a stand to reallocate funds for a new cancer machine.

"We withdrew money from the disaster preparedness fund to buy the new cancer machine a year ago but we see no results. We want answers," Kadaga noted.

In response, the Minister for Health, Dr. Jane Aceng said that a new Cobalt 60 cancer machine had been procured however they encountered setbacks.

"We were advised by the International Atomic Centre to have the old machine removed from the banker by its manufacturers. They also recommended that for the new machine to be installed, the old banker had to be renovated to the right standards. Everything will be in place and fully operational by May 2017," she said.

Dr. Acheng also told Parliament that more cancer centres were being opened in all the 14 regional referral hospitals.

Source: Parliament of Uganda