The Fatboy Show Presenters Olive Najjuma and Fatboy have decried the Government’s move to fly out politicians to foreign countries for medical treatment, arguing that it exposes the dysfunctional health system in the country.
The Presenters commented on the situation following revelations that the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah was flown out to Seattle, USA for specialized treatment after being discharged from Mulago National Referral Hospital in Uganda. According to reports, the Speaker was flown out by an Airlines Airbus A330-800 Neo that set off in the wee hours of Thursday morning from Entebbe International Airport then refueled at Keflavik Iceland before arriving at its final destination in Seattle.
“If our leaders have to be constantly flown out of the country to receive treatment, it means our system is broken. Because positions like the governor’s and speaker’s are for people who yield tremendous influence and would try to ensure that our hospitals are properly equipped,” Fatboy remarked.
Additionally, reports from a local news blog indicated that the airlines charged $500,000(1.5billion) to rent the aircraft to a client for a specific journey which was disclosed by a source attached to the airlines.
Olive, commenting on this said, “It's one thing for an official to go abroad seeking further medical attention and another if they went while using taxpayers money. If you're going to use the national carrier because the President ordered, most likely they are going to go to the coffers of the country to pay for it and yet these are the same people earning so much and have access to so much money and power that can influence good policies for our country, and yet they aren't. I now understand why people are mad.”
Fatboy further asserted that perhaps if tougher policies were put in place regarding flying out for medical treatment, then instances of exorbitant amounts of money being spent on such would be almost unheard of.
“Maybe if they understood that options of seeking medical attention abroad are not available, they might have to work harder to see that our hospitals are properly equipped. Because they know that when you fall sick, there's no option of flying out.”
The two went ahead to give an instance of Tanzania’s former President John Pombe Magufuli whom they referred to as one that adopted the system that he also followed to his death.
The Speaker has been in and out of hospital since December 2021 and on several instances has had to be represented by the Deputy speaker of Parliament Anita Among in carrying out official duties.
Late last year, several reports had confirmed him dead after rumors about his deteriorating health circulated across different media platforms when he disappeared shortly after being sworn in and was reported to be seeking treatment abroad.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, Sarah and Lesham every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.