Thursday, June 6, 2013

Civil Society Reaction to State of the Nation Address 2013

Civil Society Reaction to State of the Nation Address
A Coalition of Civil Society Health Experts Respond to President Museveni's State of the Nation Address 2013. 

(Kampala) Today June 6, 2013 a coalition of civil society organizations fighting for realization of the right to health in Uganda issued the following statement in reaction to President Museveni's State of the Nation Address:

"Uganda today is lagging behind the region and much of the continent in addressing crucial health priorities, from rising HIV incidence, to persistently high rates of maternal death, to preventable deaths from malaria and vaccine preventable illnesses. This is unacceptable.
Uganda cannot develop economically as a country without tackling those crises. Our development suffers when Ugandans cannot gain access to essential health services.

Ironically, scientific advances show that right now Uganda could benefit enormously from accelerated investments in the fight against these preventable killers--for example, by aggressively scaling up access to HIV treatment along with other high impact interventions, Uganda could prevent more than 100,000 deaths and slash HIV incidence by up to 60%. By equipping Health Centre IVs and IIIs with the equipment and personnel needed to provide emergency obstetric care, thousands of mothers' and babies lives could be saved.

But today the President gave only superficial mention to these issues in a State of the Nation Address that should have prioritized the fundamental issue of lack of access to quality essential health

For example: today staff in Fort Portal are striking over lack of pay; pregnant mothers are dying without access to safe blood due to lack of supply of testing reagents; nationally, rapid test kits for HIV
detection are almost out of stock; midwives are paid almost nothing working at the frontline to deliver babies--this is disgraceful, and the Financial Year 2013/14 Budget must address fix these problems, or Parliament should not pass it. Furthermore, right now the President is not taking action in response to massive pressure from the EU and US to force Uganda and other least developed countries to accept a deal on generic medicines that would cripple our ability to access affordable treatment.

Unfortunately, we heard nothing in the speech today that indicates the fundamental change needed--genuine prioritization of the health sector through sufficient funding and the political will needed to ensure the sector functions well--bringing essential services to communities most in need, in order to save lives."

State of the Nation Address 2013-

For more information, contact:

1.    Samuel Senfuka, White Ribbon Alliance Uganda: 0704920043,
2.    Dennis Odwe, AGHA Uganda: 0772637740,

3.    Moses Mulumba, CEHURD (Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development) :  0772657974,

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