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Doctors Hiding From Patients In Government Hospitals – Minister Tells MPs

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Ugandans seeking treatment from public health facilities have to brace themselves for tougher times, after Government admitted that the issue of absenteeism among medical workers is here to stay.

The revelation was made by Sarah Opendi, the state Minister of Health (General Duties) this afternoon during a plenary sitting where she noted that the Ministry of Health is still grappling with challenge of absentee doctors, as the remuneration given to them isn’t attractive enough for them to work for Government.

Opendi told Parliament that whereas the Ministry of Health had agreed to turn all regional referral hospitals into teaching hospitals, implying that interns are supposed to be posted there and trained by the senior consultants, this hasn’t been the case as the specialists have continued to shy away from public health facilities.

“We have had a challenge, the Health Service Commission has advertised for consultants and senior consultants but the pay is still low thus not attracting them to work for us as Government,” Opendi said.

The Minister was reacting to a matter raised by Lira Woman MP Joy Atim who tasked the Minister of Health to explain why there are no specialists in hospital, adding that this has rendered interns idle because they have to be supervised by the specialists who are no longer there.

Atim warned that the dire situation at Lira hospital is likely to worsen with the current Director set to retire in a few months’ time.

In her response, Minister Opendi revealed that the specialists that take up these positions work once or twice a week, and said this can only be solved by revising remuneration of consultants.

She explained: “Until we address the issue of remuneration of these senior consultants, we shall not be able to attract them in our health facilities. We came up with an ideal structure however, Government wasn’t able to pay those wages and we agreed that maybe in a phased manner, we shall be able to address this.”

Opendi added that although Ugandans are losing loved ones due to the absence of doctors, there is no reason why a senior consultant who earns Shs3M in Uganda can fail to take up a job in Kenya and Rwanda where he/she would be paid Shs10M.

“I mean what attracts him? The issue of absenteeism is because they work for Government 2-3days and they move. Slowly we hope, we shall be able to address this but it remains a big challenge, now that we are going into the next budgeting cycle, I think we need to look at this further,” the Minister said.

The development comes at the time when the report on the Ministerial Policy statement by for the Ministry of Health 2018/2019 highlighted the plight of inadequate health personnel putting the national average at 73% as at June 2017.

The report highlighted that the staffing gap in Health Center II stands at 53% and at 68% at general hospital level, the same challenge is faced at Uganda Cancer and Heart Institutes whose human resource gaps stand at 54% and 62% respectively.

At the time of considering the budget, the Health Committee of Parliament was informed that whereas the current staffing norms require a total of 392 personnel (senior consults and Senior Medical Officers); only about 23% are currently recruited.

At the time, the Committee warned that failure by Government to prioritize recruitment of critical staff will hinder health service delivery across all health levels and affect the Ministry’s attainment of the health sector planned targets.

 

By Stella Mugoya

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Police Extends Zaake’s Criminal Summons After He Fails To Turn UP.

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Police at the Crime Investigations Department (CID) Kibuli has today extended the criminal summons of Mityana Municipality MP Hon. Francis Zaake Butebi after his lawyer Nicolas Opiyo informed them that his health condition was still poor and he couldn’t make it.

Counsel Nicolas Opiyo told this website that police had accepted the terms and agreed to extend his criminal summons to the 3rd of December.

Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake told this website on Sunday that he had been summoned to appear before the police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters in Kibuli on Wednesday to be questioned on possible charges of escaping from police custody and treason.

Mr. Zaake further told this website that he had received the summons and would turn up for questioning. He however, described the act of the police as “reckless and traumatising” because he was still recovering from “physical and psychological wounds” that he suffered during the chaos that happened in the lead up to the Arua Municipality by-election in August.

 

By Remmy Atugonza

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REVEALED: How NRM Mobiliser Maama Kisanja Connived With Senior Lands Officials To Grab Land From A Full Village

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Luella Ataro being grilled by the commission

The Commission of inquiry into land matters has unearthed how a racket of ministry of lands officers connived with NRM mobilizer Peninah Kalenge Busingye alias Maama Kisanja and her daughter Natasha Kalenge to grab villages in Namavundu sub county Wakiso District.

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the chairperson of the Commission revealed that the Commission has established that the entire fraudulent transaction of the land was masterminded by senior officers in the ministry of lands.

She wondered how the entire process was worked on during the festive season of 2016. She gave an example that on 29th December 2016, the senior Registrar land registration Luella Ataro approved to the Commissioner land Registration to issue a special certificate of land title to Peninah Kalenge without making due diligence.

Bamugemereire added that in the same period, Ataro sent request to Dr. Joseph Batume, the Wakiso District staff surveyor for a deep plan on the controversial land and asked him to issue instruction to survey the land.  She disclosed that Batume immediately responded to all the requests without ascertaining them. She further revealed that Ataro also didn’t follow the normal procedure that when someone applies for special certificate of the land title, the registrar has to wait for 30 days after an announcement is done in the national gazette.

She said that within five days, before Ataro received the application for the special certificate of the land title, it was already issued in the names of Peninah Kalenge. She showed Ataro an application made by Natasha and her mother which read that the land title was misplaced and they needed a special certificate of the land title for the immediate transaction on the land.

She said that Ataro, Batume and Venansio Ajero, the Wakiso District cartographer were the beneficiaries of the Shs4.7bn Natasha allegedly used in the process of obtaining the title fraudulently.

Bamugemereire was supported by Ebert Byenkya, the Commission’s lead Counsel who revealed that immediately after issuing the special certificate of land title, sub divisions were done and over 60 other land titles were fraudulently created.

He said that Ataro also issued a special certificate of the land title well knowing that all the plots which were created in 1999 on the mother certificate of the land title were made in handwriting.

He added that Ataro headed the entire scum from the Ministry. After reporting the loss of the certificate of the mother title; fraudulent plots were created in the kalamazu when they were not indicated in the title made in 1999.

He said that the new plots created by Ataro were measuring over 184 hectares in the names of Kalenge. In her defense, Ataro told the Commission that she was not aware of the scum and she got to know about it last week when she met Natasha. She said that Natasha told her that the special certificate of the land title she processed for her had problems.

Commissioner Mary Ochan asked her to tell the Commission where she met Natasha and what they were planning to do.

Ataro said she found Natasha in the office of Vaniey Lutaaya, a government surveyor.  She said that on 29th December 2016, the date she issued a new special certificate of the land title to Kalenge, she was in office on orders of the permanent secretary Ministry of lands and whatever she implemented, she was following the information given to her by Wakiso District land office.

On the issue of not following the 30 days announcement in the gazette, she said that it was an oversight and asked for forgiveness. She told the Commission that her powers in the land registration department in the ministry of lands were reduced from approving the issuing of land titles and now she is only handling the Complaints desk in the department.

Commissioner Robert Ssebunya told her that she masterminded the whole scum and put the suffering of poor Ugandans on her. Ataro told the Commission that she is going to write to the Commission land registration to cancel the certificate of the land title because it was issued fraudulently.

She said that she is going to tender in her letter tomorrow Wednesday and she will copy in the Commission to fulfill her commitment.  Justice Bamugemereire also ordered Ataro to bring to the Commission her passport.  The Commission also grilled Wakiso District staff surveyor Joseph Batume who issued the instruction to survey the land which does not exist.

 

By Jamil Lutakome

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Supreme Court Sets Date To Determine Speaker Kadaga’s Fate Over Age-Limit Removal

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The Supreme Court has set the date to hear an application filed by City Lawyer Male Mabirizi seeking Court to order Rebecca Kadaga the speaker of parliament  to appear before the Court for cross-examination.

According to the statement issued by Opefeni Ogwadiya, the registrar supreme Court, the seven justices are set to kick off the hearing on 12th December 2018.  In his application, Mabirizi challenges the decision of the five justices of the Constitutional Court headed by Alfonso Owinyi Dolo who reject his application for Kadaga to appear before the Court for cross examination.

He stated that during conferencing on the matter in the court of appeal, he asked Dolo, who was chairing the process that he wanted Kadaga to appear in the dock. He further stated that Kaahwa Christine the acting Director for civil litigation in the chambers of the Attorney General told Dolo to give him more time to file the affidavit of the speaker who was out of the country.

Mabirizi said that with such submission, he thinks that the court was going to allow him crossexamine Kadaga because she was at the center of controversy which Dolo rejected.  He said that he was only served with affidavits of Jane Kibirige the clerk to parliament, UPDF commander Gen David Muhoozi and Keith Muhakanizi, the secretary to the treasury.

“That consequently, before hearing of the Constitutional petition, intended to examine the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga so that the court can be able to ascertain her true role in the entire process relating the constitutional amendment Act 2 of 2017,” Mabirizi stated. The court will first hear this application before the main appeal in January 2017.

 

By Jamil Lutakome

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