Dr Amooti Kaguna runs Afya Clinic in Ibanda Municipality, Ibanda District, which he established after retiring from public service when he turned 60 years in May 2016. Dr Kaguna had served for 38 years.
Among the posts he held was District Director of Health Services (DDHS)/ District Health Officer (DHO) Mbarara from 2002 until he retired.
He established his clinic to supplement his income when he was still in active employment. At the time of retirement the medical doctor was earning Shs1.2m.
From university in 1981 Dr Kaguna worked as a medical officer at Kagadi Hospital in the current Kibaale district and was later posted to Busoolwe Hospital in Tororo District.
He was later seconded to Ibanda Hospital (a private facility) where he served as Hospital Superintendent for six years before going to Ruhoko Health Centre IV as the facility in charge. He was transferred to Mbarara as senior medical officer in the office of the district medical officer. He would later be appointed DDHS/DHO.
Even as he rose through ranks and changed jobs, he knew reality would one day strike.
“I knew I would retire at one time. As you go to work, you should bear in mind the fact that at one point you will be out. So you have to start some projects to supplement your income but also to support you in your retirement,” says Dr Kaguna.
He acquired a chunk of land but in small plots until it was big enough (he is reluctant to reveal the actual size) to establish a dairy farm, piggery projects and carry out commercial maize growing.
He was also able to acquire a loan to buy a plot in Ibanda town and build rental houses.
Relevant to the time
Although he is uncomfortable to disclose how much he earns from his clinic and projects per month, Dr Kaguna delights in his work.
“I must admit that I earn more than what I was earning as a government officer,” he says adding, “You have to plan early enough when you are still energetic and earning seemingly good money. Retirement is inevitable and, it will come. Don’t sleep and forget, I was conscious early enough and rolled out these projects.”
Even when he had managerial positions he still attended to patients to enable him improve his skills and knowledge. He scooped managerial positions because he kept studying and working hard.
“I kept reading to remain relevant, otherwise I would have settled for medical officer. I kept in practice and remained in touch with patients so that I don’t forget and become obsolete,” says Dr Kaguna. These are the same skills he applies at his clinic.
His role as DDHS/ DHO was to identify health needs of the area and plan for how to address them using available resources. The job required him to network with all stakeholders in the delivery of health services.
“I established health infrastructure and combated diseases which saved lives. I contributed to generation and remodelling of government policies in the area of health,” says Dr Kaguna.
The 64-year-old wishes he had retired earlier to attend to his projects and earn better.
“I should have retired earlier between 45 and 50 years to do my own things because there was that option but I got glued to my job,” he relates.
After retirement, Dr Kaguna says, life continues and he asks those in service to start saving early enough so that they do not become paupers.
“There is life after retirement; you might remain busy as you were during active service. If you have not planned for retirement then you are late. Nevertheless, you can start planning today; make sure you have side income; have plan B. Do not put your eggs in one basket,” says Dr Kaguna.
He enjoys a life at own pace as opposed to the office routine. However, not all is relaxed, he has to think on his toes. He is an avid reader and follows current affairs.
“In retirement I have become a think tank because people approach me for consultation. You are invited to almost every function,” says Dr Kaguna. He is currently chairman board of directors Kagongo Rural Development Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisation which has more than 2,000 members.
He devotes part of his time attending community activities and giving advice and information to community members.
“Everyone needs spiritual life and that is why I go to church every Sunday. This nourishment gives a good vibe for the week. If possible, they should go for medical checkup at least every six months,” he recommends, adding that they should avoid excesses of life such as ‘running’ after women and taking much alcohol.
Dr Kaguna wakes up at 5am, prays and goes jogging. He works at the clinic from 8.30 am to 5pm. He then interacts with community members and has to be in bed by 10 pm.
The father of 10 was born in 1956. Dr Amooti Kaguna attended Buryansungwe and Rubindi primary schools in Kamwenge and Mbarara respectively. He joined St Leo’s College Kyegobe for O-Level and King’s College Budo for A-Level. He studied medicine and surgery at Makerere University and Master of Public Health.
He studied diploma in Management at Uganda Management Institute, and Diploma in Management from Berlin. He has a diploma in Sexually Transmitted Diseases Management from Nairobi University, and Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Health from London School of Tropical Medicine and Health.
Dr Kaguna has been a part time lecturer at Mbarara University of Science and Technology.