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Proposed Constitutional Amendments for the Right to Health in Uganda

The letter below entails the proposed amendments for the Right to health in the Constitution of Uganda. This has been sent to and received by the Uganda Law Reform commission.

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About Esther Nalugya

5 comments

  1. PARLIAMENTARIANS CAN MAKE HEALTH CARE A LEGAL RIGHT FOR ALL UGANDANS!

    Health care debates to expand Coverage, Accessibility, Accountability, and Quality of health care are a riddle without the legislature. Central to this, is the constitutionality and legality of health entitlements (right to Health) for all Ugandans.

    The power of Parliament to enact laws promoting health care programs and remedial instructions to Courts upon breach are pointers to the realisation of the right to Health that vest nowhere else. Health services and goods become a legal right when they meet the claimable and justiciable test. As such the realisation of the right to health for all Ugandans must be the singular purpose that parliamentarians can’t run away from.

    Whereas Uganda’s Constitutional regime does not set forth an explicit right to health care, it imposes a duty on Members of parliament to legislate.

    The National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy (NODPSP) that require of “… state to take all practical measures to ensure the provision of basic medical services to the population (XX Medical services) and The state shall endeavor to fulfill the fundamental rights of all Ugandans to social and economic development and shall in particular ensure that- all Ugandans enjoy rights and opportunities and access to … health services (XIV General social and economic objectives).

    Even when the NODPSP consistent with Article 8A are principles of national interest and common good therein enshrined, the same lack force of law until and when Parliament legislates on them as decreed by Article 8A (2). The legislative requirement simply makes them mere guidelines on to which authorities cannot be lawfully held to avail or account, only and only when parliament can makes laws can then the implementing agencies can they work.

    For whatever we cannot hold our government agencies lawfully accountable can be legislated upon. We either have an active MP working with passive MPs or a whole lot of passive ones supervised by a resigned citizenry.

    Electoral reforms, expanding the right to protect life to include the right to Health as constitutional amendments are all prayed for to be found popular for the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional affairs to compound into a white paper for parliamentarians to pass into law, I so pray.

    Talibita Moses
    jtalibita@yahoo.com

  2. PARLIAMENTARIANS CAN MAKE HEALTH CARE A LEGAL RIGHT FOR ALL UGANDANS!

    Health care debates to expand Coverage, Accessibility, Accountability, and Quality of health care are a riddle without the legislature. Central to this, is the constitutionality and legality of health entitlements (right to Health) for all Ugandans.

    The power of Parliament to enact laws promoting health care programs and remedial instructions to Courts upon breach are pointers to the realisation of the right to Health that vest nowhere else. Health services and goods become a legal right when they meet the claimable and justiciable test. As such the realisation of the right to health for all Ugandans must be the singular purpose that parliamentarians can’t run away from.

    Whereas Uganda’s Constitutional regime does not set forth an explicit right to health care, it imposes a duty on Members of parliament to legislate.

    The National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy (NODPSP) that require of “… state to take all practical measures to ensure the provision of basic medical services to the population (XX Medical services) and The state shall endeavor to fulfill the fundamental rights of all Ugandans to social and economic development and shall in particular ensure that- all Ugandans enjoy rights and opportunities and access to … health services (XIV General social and economic objectives).

    Even when the NODPSP consistent with Article 8 A are principles of national interest and common good therein enshrined, the same lack force of law until and when Parliament legislates on them as decreed by Article 8 A (2). The legislative requirement simply makes them mere guidelines on to which authorities cannot be lawfully held to avail or account, only and only when parliament can make laws can then, the implementing agencies work.

    For whatever we cannot hold our government agencies lawfully accountable can be legislated upon. We either have an active MP working with passive MPs or a whole lot of passive ones supervised by a resigned citizenry.

    Electoral reforms, expanding the right to protect life to include the right to Health as constitutional amendments are all prayed for to be found popular for the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional affairs to compound into a white paper for parliamentarians to pass into law, I so pray.

    Talibita Moses
    jtalibita@yahoo.com

  3. Health workers’ and government relations: proposed Patient’s Rights and Responsibilities Bill good for all Ugandans.

    Health facilities and health workers on one side with patients on the other is not the intent for which the Patient’s rights and responsibilities Bill proposed by Hon. Milton Muwuma seeks to cure but rather bridge the gap. The law seeks to make lawful both Patient’s and their responsibilities. Whereas, Health workers are qualified in patient’s rights the legal framework does not take give blanket immunity for Patients when they fall short on meeting their responsibilities.

    Physicians may participate in individual acts, grassroots activities, or legally permissible collective action to advocate for change, as provided for in their Medical Ethics. Whenever engaging in advocacy efforts, physicians must ensure that the health of patients is not jeopardized and that patient care is not compromised.

    Formal unionization of physicians and choice to join any per article 40 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, including physicians-in-training, may tie physicians’ obligations to the interests of workers who may not share physicians’ primary and overriding commitment to patients. Physicians should not form workplace alliances with those who do not share these ethical priorities.
    Strikes and other collective action may reduce access to care, eliminate or delay necessary care, and interfere with continuity of care as has variously happened in Uganda’s health sector. Can patients for instance pay health workers salaries gone unpaid for several months or recruit health workers to ameliorate under staffing or structural repairs? Each of these consequences raises ethical concerns. Physicians should refrain from the use of the strike as a bargaining tactic, it hurts the unsuspecting citizenry the most who have paid their tax or government has acquired loans for or donors are yet to meet their obligations for. In rare circumstances, individual or grassroots actions, such as brief limitations of personal availability, may be appropriate as a means of calling attention to needed changes in patient care. Physicians are cautioned that some actions may put them or their organizations at risk of violating antitrust laws. Consultation with legal counsel is advised.

    Physicians and physicians-in-training should press for needed reforms through the use of informational campaigns, non-disruptive public demonstrations, lobbying and publicity campaigns, and collective negotiation, or other options that do not jeopardize the health of patients or compromise patient care.
    Physicians are free to decide whether participation in advocacy activities is in patients’ best interests. Colleagues should not unduly influence or pressure them to participate nor should they punish them, overtly or covertly, for deciding whether or not to participate.

    Talibita Moses James
    Mtalibita@unhco.or.ug/ jtalibita@yahoo.com

  4. 2015, is the eve of Uganda’s voting year cum 2016, 2015 is the time for successor MDGs’ discussions, last year confirmed that Uganda’s largest population adolescent laden yet population growth is not curbed.

    Uganda is politically charged, electoral reforms are fired up, Ugandans are revisiting the supreme law. Government gathered constitutional amendment proposals and closed their receipt on December 5/12/2014.

    This year, the law making body mirrors 2016 and thereafter in matters bordering on Citizen well being, and it shall take citizens five more year to recruit their leaders again, there is not time as when political leaders are the most vulnerable than the electioneering year or time.

    Citizen report cards must be read on rallies politicians call, these must be community dialogues for engaging the political class to account on their legislative roles.

    Laws are enactable at all levels, article 79 spells out the functions of parliament and parliamentarians, they are charged with the responsibility of making laws for the peace, development and good governance. Decentralisation, does not just bring services nearer to the people, it also devolves law making powers from Parliament to local councils to make ordinances and bylaws. There are academic qualifications for being a leader in Uganda, speaking English is a front runner.

    Expressing oneself in English matters in Uganda, given all laws are made in English, the laws are not peoples with disabilities’ or illiterate friendly. The biggest number of Ugandans cannot even sing the first stanza of the National Anthem, be it in swahili, English or in luganda. Beyond that, there are no other known translations of the same. Ignorance of the law which is anyway in English, is no defence.

    There is need to expediting the enactment of the Tobacco control Bill, 2014, MoH fast tracking the compilation of wanachi concerns in the National Health insurance Health Scheme law that shall finance the right to health constitutional proposed amendment, the patient’s Rights and responsibilities Bill, 2015.

    Citizen empowerment to monitor service delivery is pivotal in the improvement of the health sector. Health goods, services, patient’s rights and corresponding responsibilities legitimisation is a move in the right direction for all Ugandans present and future.

    I rest my case!

  5. Talibita Moses

    Take into account the Right to Health in the Constitutional amendment Bill, No.11 of 2015.

    Health and well being directly translate to wealth therefore to realize wealth creation’s full potential health services and goods must universally be enjoyed. Health rights are on the mind of all citizens both the voters and those to be voted.

    The 5th of December 2014 was the deadline for the Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC) to receive constitutional amendment proposals from Ugandans. The ULRC was receiving the same for remittal to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs; it is the line commission under the ministry. The commission clarified in the various media on what their role was in relation to the public proposals received then towards the end of last month, that is last week.

    The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs together with the Deputy and Attorney General presented to the Legal and parliamentary affairs committee the Constitutional ( Amendment ) Bill, No 11 of 2015.

    The long title to the Bill shows its intentions to: change the name of the current electoral commission, empower parliament to prescribe the number of commissioners and procedure for their removal, equating it to that of the judicial officers; increase retirement age for justices and judges and empower Judicial services commission to appoint certain staff of the judiciary; providing corporate status for the inspectorate of government; establish city land boards and establish a salaries and remuneration Board.

    The bill has more than electoral reforms and the committee has not ruled out of order proposals as out of scope if their guests have proposed otherwise from the Bill.

    The nearest to health the Bill states, is in the proposed insertion to article 60 in chapter five immediately after clause 8 attendant clause specifically (10) on the removal of a commissioner upon an allegation is to physical or mental incapacity of the commissioner to perform their duty, the president on the advice of the head of health services of Uganda appoints a medical board to investigate and report findings on the same.

    Whatever the proposals, let the constitution have the right to health insertion reading thus Article 22 A (1) the state shall take reasonable measures within its available resources to achieve the progressive realization of the right of every person to health, and to the conditions and facilities necessary to good health, and to health care services , including reproductive health care. (2) A person must not be denied emergency medical treatment. (3) In applying any right under this section, if the state claims that it does not have the resources to implement the right, it is the responsibility of the state to show that the resources are not available.”

    A right to health proposal must create health rights that are claimable and justiciable in circumstances of denial. No one is any the wiser about their health especially that Non communicable diseases have proved inescapable yet are very expensive to treat. Let alone that the entire world is walking the road to universal health care. If health is wealth and we are talking about wealth creation left right and center then it is only wise that health led the long raft of proposed amendment.

    The best of such proposal must be in that seeking to expand article 22 of the Constitution which protects life. Whereas article 22(1) protects citizens from being deprived of life intentionally and clause (2) protects the life of the unborn child save as when the law so provides. This article falls short of protecting citizens against health violations which anyway threatens their life. The same article assigns responsibility on the state or perpetrators of the life threatening circumstances, my singular pray is that it meets the urgency it deserves.

    Talibita Moses
    0782938097
    Uganda National Health User’s/ Consumers legal officer

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