Universal access to good-quality health care remains a major concern globally.
Countries have adopted different health financing mechanisms including national health insurance to ensure universal access to quality basic health care.
The government is currently proposing a national health insurance scheme. But how might Uganda fare under this scheme?
First, it is important to know the way pooled funds will be used to pay for the service. When designing mandatory health insurance, it is necessary to consider the package and provider payment methods. The level of political commitment and citizen support towards the scheme is also important.
Without this, it would be almost impossible to implement the scheme.
Secondly, government must remain accountable to the citizens. Studies show that corruption, bureaucracies and poor management of social programmes are some of the issues many governments introducing this scheme grapple with.
Government should also significantly improve revenue collection, adopt cost control measures, implement stringent monitoring mechanisms on health providers, and improve referral systems.
We need a standard policy on school fees
I have in the recent past witnessed scenarios where students and pupils have failed to get back to school simply because they have failed to complete payment of fees.
Usually the school fees is hiked with the teachers saying the increment is down to the poor performance of the economy. Everyone has a right to education and it is unfortunate that the schools that are meant to promote this right are in actual sense violating it by their irregular increase of fees.
For instance, I have known schools that ask for more than Shs 1,500,000 per term. Some schools demand for materials such as paint, barbed wires, rakes, spades, cement, brooms just to mention a few. One wonders whether the teachers are putting up hardware and stationery shops.
Schools are at a liberty to set their own prices. Some teachers who are supposed to oversee these education services also own schools that charge these irregular and exorbitant charges. They, therefore, lack moral authority to regulate this sector.
I, therefore, call upon the ministry of Education and Sports to pass a uniform school fees and requirements policy to ensure all Ugandans have the education they desire.
Perfumes fight body odor but can also cause affliction
Yesterday, I took a cab from Najjeera, a city suburb, to Zana, another city suburb along Entebbe road.
My driver wore a strong-scented perfume. I could smell this man’s perfume even before I opened the car door. However, I didn’t think it would affect me; so, I went on and we started our trip.
Shortly into the journey, I started feeling a headache and by the time the journey ended, my nose was blocked and felt dizzy as I jumped out of the car. I got into the house looking ill. My sister could notice I was unwell.
I am neither asthmatic nor do I know how it feels, but I probably got close to it. A day later and I am still indisposed, which has prompted me to read something about perfumes. Perfumes and deodorants are popular today because we use them to fight body odor, to be more attractive and to set a certain mood.
I have found out that wearing a perfume can help you cure a headache, although; this isn’t true for perfumes that contain essential oils that compound headache and other sicknesses.
Some of the chemicals in perfumes such as ethanol, acetaldehyde and benzaldehyde can cause irritability, mental vagueness, muscle pain, asthma, bloating, joint aches, just to mention a few.
Research further confirms that many of the ingredients in fragrances are neurotoxins, meaning that they have a poisonous effect on the brain and nervous system. Additional studies link other negative emotional, mental and physical symptoms to various fragrance ingredients.
Some fragrance ingredients disrupt our natural hormonal balance, causing a number of possible emotional concerns, including: anxiety, mood swings and depression.
Let us be cautious with our lives and be selective with our cosmetics, both for our sake and the people around us.
Let us manage our climate
We have continuously become victims of climate change. The alteration in the weather patterns has brought economic, political and social havoc.
The latest consensus of climate scientists, summarized in last February’s report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is that by far the biggest component of the forces currently warming the earth is the increasing concentration of carbondioxide, and the source of that carbon dioxide is us.
Even if we differ with the panel’s conclusion, we undoubtedly agree that variations in climate don’t occur without a reason. We have continuously cut down trees, reclaimed swamps and wetlands for economic purposes, and at the end Ugandans are the victims.
Whether we start today or in a decade, it is inevitable that we begin to manage, the climate. Ugandans should concentrate on planting trees, and protect swamps and wetlands. There, we can see a positive influence on climate.
Can’t former legislators volunteer their wisdom?
The recent reunion of former members of parliament and a section of current legislators, which was held in one of the hotels in Kampala, generated an interesting conversation.
The conservation sprung up the idea that government should consider establishing another chamber through which Uganda will benefit from the wisdom of old people who have served the country in senor positions, more so in legislature.
The suggestion was spearheaded by former prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi. The chief guest happened to be the current speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who appeared to give the idea a nod.
I am not yet sure whether Amama believes in this idea because I recall in recent times media quoting him where he vowed never to work under this government again.
We live in interesting times. These legislators used to preach the idea of job creation, but they are the ones seeking jobs. Why can’t they heed their message?