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MPs push for increased funding for health

By Moses Mulondo

Added 15th February 2017 11:56 AM

“Government is aware that a lot needs to be done to improve the health system that we deserve. That is the best tribute we can give to Dr. Mungerera."

MPs push for increased funding for health

“Government is aware that a lot needs to be done to improve the health system that we deserve. That is the best tribute we can give to Dr. Mungerera."

KAMPALA - Advocating for increased funding to the health sector, Parliament has passed a resolution to pay tribute to the late Dr. Margaret Mungherera for her outstanding services she rendered to the country.

The motion was moved by the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda who commended Dr. Mungherera as an outstanding medical professional who struggled for better medical services in the country.

Rugunda said government would pay tribute to her by implementing her major concern of improving healthcare system in the country.

"Government is aware that a lot needs to be done to improve the health system that we deserve. That is the best tribute we can give to Dr. Mungerera," Rugunda promised.

The occasion to pay tribute to Uganda's fallen medical professional who in 2013 in Brazil was unanimously voted the president of the World Medical Association was witnessed by a delegation of medical professionals in the public gallery.

Seconding the motion on behalf of the opposition, the Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said Dr. Mungherera's concern of the need to increase the remuneration for medical workers and increasing funding for the health sector should be immediately implemented by government.

"She did a lot to push for improved health facilities especially for treatment of cancer. The then minister for health promised that the machine would be imported in three months and it is now 12 months but it is yet to be seen," ssemujju said.

 Nganda noted that the country continues to lose over sh100b on treatments abroad because government has failed to avail the medical services they seek abroad.

He wondered how many Ugandans would have to die for Rugunda and the rest of the executive to wake up and do the needful to revamp the country's health sector.

The health committee chairman Dr. Michael Bukenya, an NRM MP representing Bukuya County, said, "I think I was reading from the same script as Ssemujju Nganda. It is Unfortunate that Dr. Munghererae has died of cancer a year after the cancer machine broke down. It would be more meaningful to implement what she advocated for instead of making flowery statements."

Bukenya, who is a medical professional, decried the poor remuneration for doctors and the dilapidated state of the Makerere University School of Public health which produced Dr. Mungerera.

The speaker Rebecca Kadaga said, "We withdrew money from the contingency fund for the cancer machine. Where is the cancer machine?"

The minister for health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng informed the house that the cancer machine is expected to be brought in the country in May.

She attributed the delay to the conditions the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gave them like completing the bunker for the machine before it could be brought in the country.

In April 2016 government released sh30b to the ministry of health to build a new bunker for housing the radiotherapy machine for Uganda Cancer Institute.  

Workers' MP Sam Lyomoki read a letter from the Association of Medical Professionals highlighting the three major concerns Dr. Mungerera had which included the need to stop the brain drain of medical professionals through increasing their remuneration, increased funding for improving health services in the country, and the health insurance scheme which would create more resources for Ugandans to get quality health services.

The state minister for housing Dr. Chris Baryomunsi said, "In 2012 when I was arrested over the death of Nebanda, she is one of those who came to prison to visit me. I agree with Lyomoki that government should look into the welfare of health workers."

The minister for general duties Mary Karooro Okurut appealed to the ministry for health to sensitize Ugandans on the causes of non-communicable diseases like cancer because there is a lot of misinformation on what should eaten and what should not be eaten.

Kampala woman MP Nabilah Nagai also confirmed that in her interactions, Dr. Mungerera was concerned that medical workers in Uganda are paid peanuts which causes many of them to go abroad for greener pasture.

Meanwhile in her communication, Kadaga informed the house that elections for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) would be held on February 28, 2017.

She announced a committee to be headed by Ntungamo MP Beatrice Rwakimari which will be vetting the EALA contestants and produce present a report on February 20, 2017.


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