Mbabazi Team Scoffs At Directive On Hospital Visits

3137 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
A letter dated December 30, 2015 signed by Dr. Asuman Lukwago, Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Health and addressed to the Electoral Commission states that health facilities are restricted places.

Go-Forward team, led by former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, has scoffed at government's directive to ban presidential and parliamentary candidates from visiting health centers during their campaign trails.
 
A letter dated December 30, 2015 signed by Dr. Asuman Lukwago, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and addressed to the Electoral Commission states that health facilities are restricted places, and official visiting hours are provided for relatives and any one visiting patients.
 
It adds that if it is an official visit, it should be arranged through the respective authorities including the in-charge of the health facilities.
 
Dr. Lukwago says photographing, interviewing and filming patients and staff is only permitted for instances of approved research by a relevant authority.
 
However, Josephine Mayanja-Nkangi, Mbabazi's communications manager says it is absurd for government to block candidates from accessing institutions, which they have highlighted as key areas to improve in their manifestos.
 
"If you look at the health sector, it is currently in bad shape and we have listed this among areas to improve. How can we talk about something like this to our voters without going there?" Mayanja-Nkangi questioned.
 
She says health facilities are open to all citizens and government should desist from blocking candidates from accessing them.
 
On two occasions, Mbabazi has been blocked by police from visiting health facilities, Semuto Health center IV in Nakaseke district and Kabale regional referral hospital.
 
The directive comes weeks after Forum Democratic Change presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye visited Abim hospital, which he found in a sorry state. 

He was subsequently blocked from accessing Kitagata hospital, and Rhino Camp Health Centre IV in Arua district. 
Efforts to get a comment from the FDC camp were futile.
 
However, Lukwago insists that the guidelines are aimed at protecting the interests of the patients who get inconvenienced by the candidates' convoys and crowds.
 
The Electoral Commission spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa confirmed receipt of the letter, saying candidates should abide by the regulations.

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.