By Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi
During war times as it is the case now with the national war against the Covid-19 pandemic, government should temporarily, take over essential and social services until normalcy returns.
Although the executive arm of government declined to declare a state of emergency as it was the case in other countries like Ethiopia and Botswana which even postponed general elections, this is a war situation. We are losing lives of people of all classes and walks of life.
It is my view that government should take over all private health facilities including missionary and community hospitals, private hospitals and dispensaries.
Private hospitals including those missionary based have conducted themselves unfairly with exorbitant medical and mortuary bills levied from covid19 victims.
According to a section of NRM MPs in the 11th parliament, the private hospitals have started even demanding patients to deposit land titles before treating patients or before releasing dead bodies. That is inhuman and immoral.
The situation is reportedly similar in private facilities of government hospitals like Mulago National Referral, where funeral service companies are on a get set like vultures to provide funeral services to the victims with exorbitant charges.
Government should not only temporarily take over government hospitals and staff, but should deploy military doctors as supervisors as some of the civilian doctors even in government hospitals have already been infested with the greed of exploiting the patients and their families.
For the record, there are many good medical doctors and health workers in both government and private facilities. And my family are beneficiaries especially when we got Covid19 last November and December.
But as a small dose of paraffin can spoil the entire jerry can of water, the bad ones have polluted the hospitals and the situation is growing from bad to worse.
Likewise, drug factories should also be taken over so are the leading pharmacies where private clinics complain that the drugs prices have been hiked.
The first priority should be given to developing our own vaccine and therapy using our local herbs as the President always say, and the military, which partly survived on herbs during the bush war, should take the lead but not these quack doctors that break NDA regulations and advertise themselves and their herbs in the media as curers of every disease.
So, when parliament is called to consider and pass a supplementary budget for fighting Covid-19 as demanded by the opposition and the new Prime Minister Robbinah Nabbaja some of the measures that should be put in place, is taking over of private hospitals and other health facilities.
Since, government aided private schools including missionary owned ones, are also behaving more or less the same, government should take them over and they can be used as centres to treat Covid 19 patients.
When schools resume, they should be graded and government should fix the school fees.
Relief food and other aid should target mostly the hand to mouth or “Double Zs” (Zenkolawo z’endya) as Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko described the urban poor who survive on daily income from hand to mouth.
While Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) under Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago was allowed to hold a session to handle the situation, similar permission has not yet been to Wakiso, Mukono and Mpigi district leaders.
The new Minister for Kampala Hajjati Minsa Kabanda should take the lead.
l have humbly suggested all this for God and my country.
Haji Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi is a veteran journalist ad a Communications Assistant with Ministry of ICT and National Guidance Media Team.
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