News of a celebrity mother in Uganda losing her only son to asthma yesterday morning came on the fresh heels of another celebrity losing her grandchild to a road traffic accident involving a boda-boda. However this was not the end of such tragic and unnecessary loss of lives to be reported out of the country to come about as a result of inability by citizens to address the causes and take on a proactive approach to limit such occurrences from staying as normality.
What strikes me in this tragic end to a life so young is the issue of a child having to be flown from Uganda to the neighbouring country, Kenya, to seek medical attention for a medical condition such as asthma or complications arising from poor management of this chronic ailment. Unless there were already pre-existing medical conditions and for which this child was under a specialist(s) care in Kenya, I am left wondering what this has to say for the paediatric care of chronic medical conditions within Uganda in general for persons who can ill-afford being flown out of the country.
At what point will persons/citizens that are educated, financially well-off and/or powerful politically; be able to wake up to investing in the domestic healthcare such that they don’t need to fly out their loved ones abroad for treatment? With the outpouring of cash donations in condolences, perhaps it is time to revise what such donations could be worth spent on with the aim of long term and sustainable benefit for many.
The issue of poor delivery of healthcare has been lamented on for years albeit some individuals have privately tried to address this and recently more so the funds coming in from WHO will address aspects of this. The challenge remains three-fold; from the mentality of those that end up requiring the services, those that are employed or tasked to deliver, coupled with insincerity of government political will to regulate this sector transparently at both local and national levels.
We have hospitals (Uganda) built from our colonial past that are not fit for purpose, in deplorable conditions both for those carrying out care management and for those being admitted to receive care. It is true there are building new health centres but the problem of salaries and missing medication that should be given at nominal costs keeps rearing its ugly head…however this is development that keeps my spirits up.
It is definitely to be commended that there are young persons like Esther and Sheila on ground in Kampala who are taking to being proactive in doing what they can to bring about positive change. Perhaps these actions can be emulated elsewhere in the country by other communities.
Even in developed countries, communities/individuals/private organisations carry out fundraising activities to support local and foreign charities. Donations do not necessary have to be in monetary terms – volunteers can offer their skills and times to clean up or assist target areas where needed.
The issue of the road traffic accidents and the ensuing loss of lives or injuries sustained is one I’ve had to hand over to the gods! For they alone can take pity and remove whatever is clogging the minds of every person who assumes they have right of way and urgency to reach their destination by any means necessary whenever they get inside a vehicle or any kind, and hit speeds only rockets vie for.
This complacency in accepting poor practice and relinquishing responsibility over our own contribution to what sustains such unacceptable practice needs to stop…like yesterday.