Heart patients want express passports for treatment abroad

Members of the Indian Association of Uganda and Rotary International with parents and children scheduled for free heart surgeries in India at the weekend. PHOTO/STEPHEN OTAGE. 

What you need to know:

  • Mr Stephen Mwanje, the past president of Rotary District 9213, who officiated at the ceremony, described the partnership with the Indian Association as a very important occasion for mankind.

The Indian Association of Uganda has said it hopes to meet immigration officials today to sensitise them about the importance of timely issuance of passports to heart patients they sponsor for treatment in India.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Mr Rao Mohan, the chairperson of the association, said they failed to send nine parents and their children to India at the weekend for heart operations because the Ministry of Internal Affairs says they should follow the normal procedure of acquiring passports.

“They are saying the parents and their children should go to the ministry and join the queue to get the passports. We need to sensitise the officials why the ministry should fast track giving these people passports because we are dealing with delicate heart conditions,” he said.

While flagging off the nine patients and their parents at the weekend, who were expected to depart the country, the Indian Association and Rotary International announced that as the association celebrates 100 years of existence in Uganda, they are partnering to sponsor free 125 heart surgeries to needy deserving children.

Mr Mohan said since they started heart surgeries in 2008, they have operated more than 100 children at Narayana Hospital in Bangalore, India, and three at Mulago hospital. 

Mr Stephen Mwanje, the past president of Rotary District 9213, who officiated at the ceremony, described the partnership with the Indian Association as a very important occasion for mankind.

“I believe if we work together, we can achieve a lot more,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Internal Affairs were futile as Mr Jacob Siminyu, the ministry spokesperson, did not answer our repeated calls, neither did he respond to text messages.

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