I remember September last year as the time I got so sick, threw up all night and drained my account to get back on my feet. As a freelancer, my health was my greatest resource. It was mumps, to be precise. I went to see a doctor who prescribed painkillers because mumps is a viral infection. That night, I was sure the drugs he had prescribed were not working because I puked all night, I couldn’t wait for morning to break and run to the next clinic.
To see a doctor, I had to pay consultation fees of 20,000 Uganda shillings even though I knew what I was suffering from. I did a series of blood tests and it turned out that this time, I had a bacterial infection. The medicine cost about UGX 60,000 and the laboratory tests went for about UGX 100,000.
For the second time, I was up all night, throwing up.
I woke up very early the next morning to see the same doctor, who recommended I take pregnancy tests. I obliged even though I was sure that I hadn’t done anything to necessitate a pregnancy test. I was desperate. I told the doctor that all I wanted was to stop the puking because it was draining the life out of me. She gave me a series of injections and antibiotics.
Slowly, life returned.
I had no medical insurance but I drained my account to get back to my feet. This little money afforded me these choices.
But think about a person in Kawaala, whose hope is vested in a government health facility. She is one of the 600 patients that see a doctor at Kawaala Health Centre. She queues all day for many days, but may still fail to see a Doctor.
Unfortunately, the government has cut the health sector budget for the Financial Year 2017/18 by 541.5 billion Uganda Shillings. There is no ray of hope at the end of this tunnel.
You would imagine that after 60 years of independence, Uganda’s health care system would be at a better place than it is today but instead, the system is in shambles. Such a system is an enemy of the people. It robs the country of productive people that lose time in queues and sends people to their graves a little too early.
In my opinion, there needs to be a healthcare plan for the poor, the old, unemployed and the underemployed. There needs to be a deliberate move to introduce an insurance scheme for every Ugandan and above all, the government has to dedicate a sizable amount of money to the health sector.