Uganda: Invest More in Health – Lukwago

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has decried the poor state of the country’s healthcare facilities, saying if he had not flown out, he would have died due to lack of specialised treatment in Ugandan hospitals.

Mr Lukwago, who returned from Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday, urged government to invest more resources to improve Uganda’s healthcare system and attract or retain more specialised medical personnel.

He narrated how he ‘struggled’ to get specialists to attend to him when he suffered acute anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, last month.

The Lord Mayor said he was lucky to get to the specialised treatment in Nairobi given his status as a high ranking public official.

“We must commit ourselves to rebuilding our health system. The healthcare system in this country is sick. Imagine millions of Ugandans who are languishing in those hospitals where there are no equipment and cannot get medicine,” Mr Lukwago told journalists at his home in Kampala.

“I was referred to Aga Khan [Hospital] by doctors here because of the inadequate equipment and facilities,” he added.

He also said lack of requisite equipment has forced Ugandan medical specialists to work in other countries.

He said while at Aga Khan Hospital, he was treated by a medical team led by a Ugandan specialist based in Nairobi, Dr Godfrey Lule.

Regarding his campaigns, Mr Lukwago said he had suspended them indefinitely until he recovers fully.

“I have been advised to have some rest for some days. I was given medication and I am also on lung therapy plus many other things. I need to get back into shape. The campaigns will be put on hold for at least a week and then we review what will be happening.”

Mr Lukwago said his condition started as an allergy.

“I first got an allergic reaction, whose details I will not provide, called acute anaphylaxis which made my life so hard. I was then referred to see ENT [Ear, Nose and Throat] specialists,” Mr Lukwago said.

“After I developed pain in the lungs and was admitted to Rubaga Hospital where after several days, I called Dr Kizza Besigye for intervention. Dr Besigye worked with Rubaga Hospital Executive Director Dr [Andrew] Ssekitoleko and other specialists who managed to save my life,” Mr Lukwago said.

He said it is with help of the aforementioned personnel that he got better treatment. However this relief was short-lived. He was later advised to be examined by a pulmonologist.

With support from some medical specialists, Dr William Worodria, also lecturer at Makerere University, was sourced and Mr Lukwago was attended to and referred to the Aga Khan Hospital in Kenya.

While at Aga Khan Hospital, Mr Lukwago was attended to by a team of specialists led by a Ugandan, Dr Lule. The team also comprised Dr Byakika Kagoda, also a Ugandan and Dr Muhindi Wanjohi, a Kenyan.

Mr Lukwago revealed that it was Dr Lule’s team that examined, and treated him before he was cleared to be flown back to Uganda.

Lukwago is currently under the watch by local doctors who will continue monitoring his situation after his return on Monday.

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