Kampala. The US ambassador to Uganda, Ms Deborah Malac, has urged government to invest more in education and health for women in order to combat gender-based violence.
“Education, health and poverty eradication are all key to creating an environment that protects women and children and allows girls to achieve their potential.
“Yes, infrastructure is important for long-term economic growth and development, but it cannot come at the expense of investments in education and health because human capital is equally as important as infrastructure,” Ms Malac said during the United States (US) Independence Day celebration at her residence in Kololo on Wednesday.
Ambassador Malac said while Uganda’s current priority is on infrastructure, education and health must be given attention so that women are empowered to contribute to national development.
She says the US government supports women empowerment programmes in Uganda to ensures women have access to quality health and education.
“Just as women in the US are making great contributions to their country, the same is true in Uganda. Every day, I am meeting talented, young Ugandan women, who are dedicated in contributing to their country,” the US ambassador said.
Ms Malac added that gender-based violence has taken a toll on women in Uganda, something that impedes their active participation in national development of the country.
“We are dedicated to women’s health, especially maternal and child health, prevention of gender-based violence, and prevention, care, and treatment of HIV/Aids. We are also very focused on supporting girls’ education and literacy, which is so fundamental to giving girls and women a chance to succeed,” she said.
Prime minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, who represented President Museveni, said government appreciates the US support and will continue to foster a beneficial relationship between the two countries.
“We welcome efforts in supporting bilateral trade and investment between US and Uganda. It is also notable that the US approach towards Africa continues to shift from aid to industrial investment,” Dr Rugunda said.
He said US provides more than $970m (about Shs3.6 trillion) to Uganda in development and security budget support per year.
“We welcome this support in complementing our efforts of socio-economic transformation and development. This includes providing anti-retroviral treatment for HIV/Aids patients under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and working to boost economic growth and agricultural productivity, among others.
“Our partnership with the US Centres for Disease Control has been particularly instrumental in bolstering Uganda’s efforts to contain the spread of Ebola epidemic,” DR Rugunda added.