What can you do for Uganda?
My column of last week, If you live in Uganda, just don’t fall sick, received a record number of responses. Many readers posted comments directly onto www.observer. ug and there were further comments on Facebook and Twitter including several shares.
Of course the majority of responses decry the pathetic services offered by our national referral, Mulago hospital, as expected. However, there was one who retorted that I had told a blatant lie when I reported that a doctor had told me in confidence that if you have somewhere else to go, avoid Ward 2B.
On one of the WhatsApp groups to which I subscribe, an overseas Ugandan doctor, as if replying to the retort, pointed out that mine was simply a narration of events! What if I had conducted an investigation into the provision of health care at that hospital? Be very scared! This time round, a regular reader’s comment amused me most: “Well written; finally you write an article in touch with the common man.” You have to smile at this because it came from Edo, who cannot be common seeing that he is regular online!
As is the usual, most that responded to my column on The Observer online page and/or on social media were very critical of government or presented personal experiences of how they have been failed by our health system.
There is a one Faisal Saad, who unsuccessfully attempted to point out that we have made progress as a country in the provision of health services using poor examples. Of course he was chewed up by other readers.
I also received a couple of emails: the first from a reader, Charles, who commends me for my many initiatives including educating the youth. He proposes that we should agitate for health insurance as the best way forward. The second email is from a medical doctor who invited me to her new health facility in Kampala to further discuss health care issues.
In the same vein, Kahunga Matsiko, a blogger and recent Kigo Thinker, emailed me proposing that we should host a Mea Culpa retreat, in the Catholic sense, at the next Kigo Thinkers thinking session. Mea Culpa is confessed by Catholics, meaning: It is my fault.
The Mea Culpa retreat, according to Matsiko, should take each of us “into a deep, inner reflection and soul-searching” that can enable us to question: “Where have I failed Uganda in the last 30 years?”
He argues that this is a skill that we lack but urgently need in Uganda! Instead, we are excellent at “finger-pointing, holier-than- thou and self-seeking politicking!”
This is a recipe for disaster because we are on “a binge of self-deception and on a rollercoaster of self-destruction!” Deep expressions, you would think, but then he points out that who else would spend Shs 100 billion between now and February 2016 yet health centres lack even basic requirements?
I must return to Charles’ email in which he urges me to inspire the young generation to exploit and develop their talent and potential. The good news is that over the last couple of weeks, two of my old students have paid us a visit at Taibah International School.
They are putting their ‘papers in order’ because they intend to stand for political positions in the 2016 elections. I am most impressed because I know the two quite well. They are currently gainfully employed but have chosen to take up political leadership.
I believe that since they are recent graduates, they may still hold values instilled in them while still with us at school.
For further inspiration, young wannabe politicians should read up on 20-year-old Mhairi Black, Britain’s youngest MP. At the time of her election campaigns and swearing in, she was completing her final university examinations.
She graduated in June with first-class honours. Not only did she defeat an MP who has been in the seat since 1997 and a former cabinet minister, she is making waves across the UK after delivering a fantastic maiden speech in parliament.
To Edo, Lakwena and other online Observer readers, let us pay attention to Kahunga Matsiko who advocates Mea Culpa for Ugandans.
email@example.com The author is one of the founding Kigo Thinkers.
**This article was first published in The Observer newspaper: