By Odaka Asuman
I had refused to comment on the hullabaloo of importing the Cuban doctors until I realized an important aspect of the issue was not being discussed. Three areas need to be highlighted to put the issue into perspective.
When Mr. Yoweri Museveni came to power, most professionals had fled the country, the medical sector was one of the most hit. Mr. Museveni quickly ran to Cuba and asked then Cuban President Fidel Castro for 100 doctors but instead Mr. Castro offered to give him a grant to construct a teaching hospital so that Uganda can train its own doctors other than importing them. This is how we got Mbarara University of Science And Technology (MUST). It also explains why the first medical trainers at MUST were Cuban nationals. Thirty years later we shouldn’t still be talking of importing doctors but exporting the doctors.
We need to task President Yoweri Museveni to explain how Uganda has come to this state of affairs in the medical sector.
Secondly our doctors are not only asking for salaries but fair working conditions, and availability of tools of trade. To my dismay I see that Mr Museveni is bastardising the conversation by shamelessly telling us how he is the lowest paid government worker yet just a year ago he told us that he is not anybody’s worker). If our doctors were given just 0.002% of the facilities given to Mr. M7, none would ask for a salary.
The third and most important issue is discussing the issue it stands on its own. Uganda is suffering from multiple organ failure. If you import the Cuban doctors because the Ugandan ones are your enemies, then you will need to import the Cuban prosecutors, Cuban judges, Cuban teachers, Cuban traders, Cuban taxi drivers, Cuban students, Cuban boda boda. In fact you will import Cuba itself and the problem will not be solved yet it’s cheaper to import “Cuban president”.
Let us import the Cuban president because the Cuban president will train doctors, he will build institutions, he will fight corruption, nepotism, tribalism. He will make our education work, he will make our health sector work, he will not boast of substandard roads because he will make good ones, he will not favor foreigners. The Cuban president will not give our national assets to his family members and cronies, the Cuban president will not tax Ugandans into poverty, he won’t rent support. The Cuban president will be cheaper to maintain.
Mr. President, just import the #CubanPresident
The writer is former Member of Parliament candidate for Tororo municipality.