So today is the first time I’ve needed to have my own toilet paper. After lunch (karo and beef stew) I peeked into the bathroom nearby, saw that there was no tp, and decided to go to the hotel instead. Although initially we were in the Oxford Inn (25,000 Sh or $14/night) this morning we checked into the Westland Hotel (10,000 Sh or $6/night). And looking in my own bathroom, I realized there was no paper there either. Fortunately, this morning I picked up Mallory’s extra paper as I was checking out of the Oxford Inn and could use that.
So the big news around Uganda these days is that the Health Ministers seem to have lost some $1 million from an immunization project. The former health minister, Muhuwenzi (sp?) ran off to the UK, presumably for a medical check up, and refuses to come back to be in prison. His other corrupt colleagues are now "comfortably" in jail, without recourse to bail.
Yet life goes on, and we’ve had two meetings with the Ministry of Health so far, and will have another one in a couple of weeks. My general impression is that this government is very progressive, has done a very good job actually decentralizing delivery of health care, and is encouraging of appropriate IT projects. They’ve made it a priority to get Internet connectivity at each of the district hospitals in the next two years, possibly even faster, and have recently held meetings with the Institute of Computer Science here in Mbarara to figure out what can be done in terms of computerizing services in the Mbarara District Hospital. Healthnet Uganda is active is 5 districts (formerly 2 districts, but split into 5 as part of decentralization), with forms submitted via infrared and GPRS with the help of Palm Tungstens/m130s and WideRay jacks. The whole system is still cash and carry, but at least Microcare is doing a great job of delivering health insurance, and making inroads into delivering better healthcare in the rural informal sectors. Overall, this is a relatively easy place to work!
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