At long last a senior cabinet minister has let out his frustration regarding corruption in the health sector.
Confronted by mourners in Bushenyi who had lost a dear one, health minister Dr Elioda Tumwesigye recently conceded that ‘some health officers are born thieves’.
While Dr Tumwesigye should be lauded for his bold declaration, it should not be lost on us that he should at the same time institute measures that will help eliminate corruption in the critical sector he oversees.
The worst form of corruption in the health sector is the pilfering of drugs from health facilities by the staff, and every day, thousands of poor Ugandans die because they cannot access the prescribed drugs, yet the diseases they suffer from can easily be treated if the drugs were availed at an affordable or regulated cost.
Interestingly, some health workers in government hospitals refer the patients to get the drugs from clinics that are linked with them, a deliberate act of impunity!
Some time back government put in place the Health Monitoring Unit under State House doctor Diana Atwine, and also undertook to label all government drugs.
Indeed, Dr Atwine did a good job, and helped expose and prosecute some of the crooks who were benefitting from the misery of patients in Uganda.
But it seems she has since gone ‘mute’, and the health sector hydras are once again rearing their ugly heads, ready to strike hard.
This therefore necessitates the Minister of Health to strike first, crack a few skulls and in the process send a message that wayward behavior in the health sector will not be allowed to gain traction under his watch.
Of course this might be a grueling battle, given the nature of people involved in the drugs’ racketeering.
But we cannot let evil prevail in the health sector, just because a few wayward individuals have decided to condemn a large number of Ugandans to early deaths.
Over to you Dr Tumwesigye.