The Medical Board has come under the spotlight for potentially some discriminative behaviour after it failed to approve for the treatment of Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze’s illness.
Parliament’s health insurance scheme entitles all MPs like Nambooze to free medical cover if they are treated within the country. However, when it comes to an MP having to seek treatment outside the country, the Medical Board has to give a green light for Parliament to pay such bills.
However, in an unfair development, The Sunrise understands that for three weeks, the Board refused to clear Nambooze’s notification to seek medication abroad.
In the process, she took tests at Kampala Imaging Centre and treated at both Church of Uganda Hospital Mukono and Kampala International Medical Centre before Nambooze made a decision to fly to South Africa at her own cost contrary to Parliament’s welfare privileges which entitle her to full medical cover.
The Mukono MP who has been down for one and half months was advised by doctors, friends and relatives including Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, to seek treatment immediately before her situation runs out of control.
At the back of their mind was what happened to former Makindye West MP Hussein Kyanjo who in similar circumstances waited for months for the Medical Board to approve his medical trip before he could seek treatment. In the process, Kyanjo almost lost his speech, and today lives with the repercussion of the illness.
Kyanjo and Nambooze’s predicament reveal an unfortunate pattern in which the Medical Board happens to be selectively picking the beneficiaries of the privileges offered to civil servants.
The Sunrise understands that several NRM or friendly legislators or government officials get clearances in a matter of hours if they have emergency health cases.
In Kyanjo and Nambooze’s cases however, the Medical Board has dragged its feet, introducing unnecessarily procedures that are hardly followed for anyone who is not seen as critical to government.
In a conversation with this reporter, Nambooze reveals that she had to wait for three weeks in vain for the approval. She describes the delays as a tactic meant to worsen the patient’s situation.
The Mukono MP flew to South Africa in time to get specialized treatment after she received some treatment at Church of Uganda hospital in Mukono. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who was among friends that encouraged Nambooze to take her health as first priority, secured air tickets for the Mukono legislator from Parliament.
“Kadaga assisted her a lot. She is a good woman indeed,” Nambooze aide Arthur Mugabi told Watchdog.
In Johannesburg, she was booked into Life Brenthurst Hospital under the care of a Ugandan doctor.
“They wanted her to get money late and reach there with rotten intestines when nothing useful could be done,” Mugabi told The Sunrise.
In another development sources say the Medical Board has summoned Nambooze’s doctor Dr. Bayiga on Thursday to ask why he thinks her case cannot be handled by the “able doctors and consultants at the National Referral Hospital,” of Mulago now located at Kiruddu.
Nambooze has a complex medical condition which makes her body produce toxic materials.
Somehow her body has been producing acid while at the same time she has low sugar termed as Hypoglycaemia.
The doctors are investigating what consumes the sugars in Nambooze’s body, while at the same time producing acid, probably more serious than the medical board would want Ugandans to believe.
Efforts to get the medical board based at Mulago were futile as the spokes person for Mulago hospital couldnt return our calls