Besigye Turns Guns on Dr Diana Atwine over Museveni Rukungiri Donations
Besigye, Dr Diana Atwine in Online Chat on Health, Tororo Hospital
Four-time presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye and health ministry permanent secretary Dr Diana Atwine have engaged in a chat on the state of health facilities in the country.
BESIGYE BLASTS MUSEVENI OVER RUKUNGIRI DONATION
It all started when Besigye accused Museveni government of sinking Uganda’s heathcare system.
“As Mr Museveni distributes billions to some “groups” in Rukungiri, Tororo main Hospital is in darkness for two weeks over failure to pay Shs 76m power bill,” wrote Besigye.
Besigye was making reference to Museveni’s Shs 5bn donation to over 100 groups in Rukungiri district at the weekend.
Besigye equally made reference to disconnection of power at Tororo hospital over an unpaid electricity bill amounting to Shs 76m.
The power disconnection action had left medics with no option but to use torches and candles to help patients at night.
“This is a part of collapsed healthcare system. SHAME,” stung Besigye.
DIANA ATWINE RESPONDS TO BESIGYE
In response, Dr Atwine told Besigye “we send PHC funds to run General Hospitals and Tororo received 290m as nonwage this Financial Year and an additional 31m on what they had for utilities.”
She then called on Besigye to “join us to find out what they instead used this money for and to encourage them to prioritize utilities in their budgets”.
But Besigye was not yet done.
“Are you happy with level of funding against priority needs of hospitals?” asked Besigye.
“Please advise what wasn’t a priority that the money was spent on.
“The point is that more public funds can be spent on healthcare and other public goods and services instead of patronage handouts!”
Besigye also reacted to Atwine’s invitation to visit Tororo Hospital to find out if the sent money was used well.
“Am I now “allowed” to visit the health units?” asked Besigye.
“Since my visit to Abim hospital in 2016, I’ve been rudely stopped from visiting any health unit by police! The last such attempt was at Kawempe (Mulago) Hospital in November 2017.”
But Atwine was elusive, careful not to talk about the politics of Besigye and police.
She just emphasized that Ugandans needed to ensure that the little resources are not wasted.
“As we advocate for increment in the sector allocation, its our role as Ugandans to advocate for optimum utilisation,” she advised.
“As well as prioritization of the little resources we have at the moment to cover the most burning needs of the health sector and in this case the specific facilities.”
And Besigye reacted by emphasizing his earlier point.
“MISALLOCATION of public funds was the point! Instead of spending Shs 5bn on unplanned handouts (patronage), increase health budget,” wrote Besigye.
“Ensuring proper and accountable use of allocated money is a separate and essential factor.”
Both Besigye and Atwine have previously served as Museveni’s personal doctors.