I have lost many personal friends to cancer, and I am aware that the only radiotherapy machine in Uganda has broken down.
I didn’t want to say anything about this issue before getting substantial knowledge, so I requested my team to research, and they attended the Mulago press conference yesterday.
I am also convinced that this press conference would not have taken place without the #SaveMulago public pressure. Well done Ugandans!
Most of us have lost loved ones to Uganda’s broken medical system, and we need to stop putting up with this injustice.
LET’S GET A FEW THINGS STRAIGHT:
- The Ministry of Health already purchased a radiotherapy machine in 2013, paying €325,297 (about 1.2bn shs), with the balance to be covered by the International Atomic Energy Organization.
- The installation of this nuclear machine is highly regulated, needing international licenses and approvals, so we can’t set one up without government taking responsibility.
- To install the machine, the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) must first build a bunker (3 meter walls of concrete and steel to contain nuclear radiation), and the Ministry of Health says they’re procuring a construction company to build this for 30 billion shs. (Does that include a kick back? And why have they waited 3 years after buying the machine to build the bunker?)
- Dr. Orem, the UCI director, says the government has so far provided only 9bn for the bunker and is now in talks with the Ministry of Finance for the balance, and construction could take between six months to a year, starting first week of May. (Will they start on time? Will Cancer treatment begin in 2017???)
- Our government’s cancer budget is increasing every year:
2012-2013: 3bn shs
2013-2014: 4bn shs
2014-2015: 8bn shs
2015-2016: 41bn shs!
SO, where is this money going?
- Health Minister Elioda Tumwesigye said only 20% of cancer patients would be effected by the radiotherapy shut down, but other doctors and health experts are saying actually more like 75% of Mulago’s cancer patients rely on the machine, with over 2000 new patients coming each year. (Kati awo omutuufu yaani??)
NOW WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS?
Many of us want to fundraise, but let’s get real. We Ugandans have already done fundraising through URA, and the budget is there! So how is the money being spent?
LET US STEP UP THE PRESSURE IN ALL WAYS!
Informed activism is powerful! I want to know: who is responsible for managing the budget and schedule of the bunker construction (politicians, technocrats, construction company)? What kind of cars are they driving? How hard are they working to #SaveMulago? Who else is working hard to care for cancer patients outside of our government, and how can we support them?
LET US NOT SLEEP; LET US WAKE UP AND DEMAND FOR WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY OURS! THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE OUR MONEY, LET US HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE!
HE: Bobi Wine