Makerere University College of Health Sciences and St. Augustine International University have launched a campaign to raise money for research into non-communicable diseases in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the drive on Wednesday night, Prof. Charles Ibingira the chairman organizing committee said they have lined up series of activities among which includes screening Members of Parliament, Ministers and district chairpersons for sicknesses so as to raise awareness about the campaign as well as raise money for the 2018 Makerere University International NCD symposium.
“We have many people with heart diseases, ulcers, cancer and they do not know about it yet if we detected these early, they can be treated. We have series of activities we have lined up leading to the conference,” he said adding that they are targeting the political class so that when they are budgeting money for the health sector, they are aware of the magnitude of the disease burden.
“We want them to see that the disease burden in the community is real so they should join us. We are looking for money to carry out research on these diseases through a fund which will be available to researchers,” he said.
Henry Okello Oryem, the Foreign Affairs State minister who was the chief guest said many Ugandans are moving with diseases that are not aware of because of a bad health seeking behavior where they do not want to check for their sicknesses before it goes out of hand.
“I always attend funerals in my village but you never hear that the dead person died of HIV/AIDS they will tell you of Cancer. In Parliament we have a new disease called Sleep apnea which people do not know of,” he said adding that he is taking the campaign to Parliament and Cabinet so that it is supported.
According King Caeser Mulenga the chief fundraiser, they are reaching out to Corporate and philanthropist Ugandans to contribute money towards a pool of research funds to study Ugandan medicinal plants.
“It is quite funny that we can pledge huge amounts of money to families of dead Ugandans when they are long gone and yet we cannot give them money for treatment when they were still alive,” he said adding that the money they are collecting, is meant to bridge the funding gap that has arisen from the economic melt down in the economies where Uganda has traditionally been getting financial support.