In Summary
  • Anti-malarials are as good as bullets for soldiers involved in military operations. Did you see from the video which drug was most shown in the cast? And why malaria! Malaria kills up to 300 people in Uganda everyday in Uganda. This video should be circulated worldwide so that WHO and other international organisations can revisit how medical practice in war torn areas should be handled

A European friend who knows I am a Ugandan medical clinical officer sent me the video of stealing from the sick and asked for my opinion. I told him it is not stealing, but a form of medical practice in Uganda.

I have literally participated in it for years and that kind of medicine practice has areas it serves, the needy. Calling it theft makes it look evil, yet it is a way of delivering drugs to people who need them desperately.

I found it entertaining though and it is one of the few videos I watched to the end because it is based on facts. From the bottom of my heart first as a clinical officer who has partly participated in this kind of practice, I applaud whoever is in the script.

I am sure my colleagues know what we do in practice and none has the thick skin that I have developed over time in Uganda to talk shamelessly about it.

I am happy the media has done a good job to help alert the world about something I knew happens ever since I stepped in medical schools as early as 1992. I am only uncomfortable because it is called stealing from the sick. What if I added the phrase stealing to treat the sick! At the tail end of these drug rackets there is someone getting treatment. The drugs end up in South Sudan and DR Congo.
Conflicts in the regions have affected so much medicine practice around the region.
Anti-malarials are as good as bullets for soldiers involved in military operations. Did you see from the video which drug was most shown in the cast? And why malaria! Malaria kills up to 300 people in Uganda everyday in Uganda. This video should be circulated worldwide so that WHO and other international organisations can revisit how medical practice in war torn areas should be handled.
Irresponsible politics is fuelling what we are calling stealing from the sick, poor politics steals from the sick.

Malaria is deadly and it has not spared anybody who is not immune and it is one of the most serious diseases that incapacitates the military, especially during combat operations.

The sick are a very lucrative business worldwide, that is why there are business hospitals, the reasons why there are pharmaceutical industries. Whereas there are lives involved, I am not going to buy the idea of condemning health workers. If you want to address the problem, the first thing to do is to revisit governance issues.

Without soliciting for sympathy from the public some of us decided to play by the rules of the game. Think of us who have no option but drugs as the only valuable items around us. Give us options beyond drugs, give us options that will make us competitive in a country where you get known for what car you drive, where your children go to, school, etc.

James William Mugeni,
wmungadi@gmail.com