State affairs should be managed better

Thursday January 11 2018

By Editor

On Tuesday, it emerged that Uganda’s National Blood Bank in Nakasero is in dire need of blood for distribution to health facilities across the country and for replenishment of its reserves.
The institution has also run short of equipment such as blood collection bags, which are vital to the transfusion process.
The Executive Director of the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, Dr Dorothy Kyeyune, revealed that due to a cash drought, the organisation has a shortfall within the region of 900 units (405,000 millilitres) per day. Well as it should ideally be giving out at least 1,000 units (450,000 millilitres) of blood per day, it can only manage about 100 units (45,000 millilitres) per day.
Blood is usually collected during blood donation outreaches, but these can only happen if the organisation has money to fuel and maintain its cars and staff. It annually requires Shs1.2 billion for fuel alone.
The bank had until the end of the last quarter of 2017 been surviving on donations from the American government through the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), but the funding has since dried up.
That the government of Uganda abdicated its obligation to maintain such a vital facility to the government of the United States of America suggests lack of seriousness on the part of our government’s officials. We are talking of the health and lives of Ugandans here, not citizens of the United States of America!
State minister for Health (General Duties), Ms Sarah Opendi, has since announced that the bank will have gotten funding by the end of this month thanks to a supplementary budget that the government intends to get the parliament to pass during the course of this month.
That is sweet music to the ears, but should the government have waited for donor funds to dry out and a situation of crisis proportions to come up before thinking of whence it would get funds to run a vitally important facility like the blood bank? Should government be seen to be managing by crisis?
What does that say about our government’s ability to plan? Have our planners ever heard of contingency planning?
In the document Vision 2040, government envisages itself entering into partnerships with the private sector and other advanced countries to develop highly specialised health care services, but such grand ideas will only remain on paper if government officials cannot exhibit some seriousness and commitment in the management of affairs of the state.