President Museveni has said Ugandans do not listen to his advice on health, which has led many to suffer lifestyle-related diseases.
Presiding over the 20th anniversary of the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa in Kampala on Wednesday, the President said disease prevention is necessary since affordable medical care access in Africa is still difficult.
“The challenge in Africa is how to provide medical care cheaply. In Uganda, I talk about it quite a bit but they always don’t listen to me. But that does not stop me from talking. You remember Jesus; they said that a prophet is never respected in his own country. That is why there are more Christians outside Israel than in Israel where Jesus was born. It was actually the Jews who killed Jesus,” Mr Museveni said.
He said Ugandans have only heeded to his health message regarding immunisation.
“I want to report to the people from outside that these Ugandans have at least listened to me on that one and they have immunised all our children and that is why the population of Uganda has jumped from 14 million in 1986 to 42 million. That is quite a record,” the President said.
Mr Museveni called for more efforts in disease prevention, antenatal care and mothers delivering from hospitals as part of efforts in improving health.
“Somebody asked me why at the age of 75, I can walk fast. It is all about nutrition; good feeding. I do not eat European or Asian foods I only eat African food,” he said.
The President also called for prevention of diseases that are transmitted to humans from animals.
“Tell our people to stop eating monkeys; I have cows; I can give them cows. We know Ebola is coming from eating some wild animals,” he said.
“I really get tired when I go to conferences; that is why I sometimes adopted sleeping in conferences so that I survive the boredom of talking about things that are not serious. If we know where this problem is coming from, let us stop it,” Mr Museveni added, drawing laughter from the audience.
Shortage of specialist surgeons
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, said the country is faced with a shortage of specialist surgeons, which has seen a number of patients being referred abroad.
She said the country has only five paediatric surgeons and eight neuro surgeons, and urged more people to train and join the two fields.
“Uganda has constructed a number of specialist hospitals but we do not have surgeons to work there. We already have a paediatric hospital that will be commissioned in April next year but we only have five paediatric surgeons, so who is going to run that hospital?” Dr Aceng said.
In May, specialist medical doctors from different fields such as paediatrics, oncology and neurosurgery asked government to attract and train more staff to lighten their workload.
There are only 1,530 specialists of the 6,290 medical and dental practitioners in the country, according to records from the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council.