US responds to Museveni’s immunisation claims

In what may pass as a silent message of disapproval of President Yoweri Museveni’s attack on foreign governments that he recently asked to refrain from Uganda’s affairs, the US embassy has published information that shows the extent of the support that the US government has been injecting in Uganda’s health sector.

On September 9, during a televised press conference, a tough talking Museveni asked foreign powers to keep-off Uganda’s affairs.

“It is important that external players refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Interfering in the internal affairs of other countries is morally and practically wrong, morally wrong,” Museveni said.

He bragged about the achievements of his 32-year-old NRM government which he said should be gratified for immunising Ugandan children against killer diseases instead of criticising it.

“The NRM has protected Ugandans in health by immunising them, protected them from war and terrorism. but now no one cares,” the President said.

The US embassy on Sunday made a veiled attack on Museveni in a social media post which shows that Museveni lied about the immunisation program.

Under a hashtag, #HandInHandWithUganda, the US Mission indicated the USA government had injected a tune of $501m in Uganda’s health sector, which amounts to Shs1.8trillion.

“In 2017, U.S. assistance helped immunise more than 1.5 million Ugandan children,” reads a tweet on the embassy’s Twitter handle.

Several Ugandan social media commentators have since demanded for answers from the government.

Samuel Amooti (@smuchope) tweeted, “This has exposed [Museveni] to the maximum!! No wonder I have never seen a single @MinofHealthUG advert on TVs that doesn’t end with “…with support from USAID, UKAID, DANIDA, UNICEF, WHO, UHMG etc”. #HandinHandWithUganda

Lawyer Dan Wandera Ogalo (@DanOgalo) posted a cheeky tweet wondering whether the US assistance wouldn’t be taken for external interference.

“Just like funding NGOs and other organisations,does this not amount to interference in our internal affairs? But thanks anyway,” Ogalo tweeted.

The development comes at a time after the Health Committee of Parliament authored a report warning of the danger Uganda’s health sector is faced with due to dependency on foreign funding.

The Committee warned in May that the dependency on external financing puts lives of Ugandans at risk in the event the donors withdrew the funding.

Foreign donor funds account for about 45% of the budget allocations to the health sector.