6. Restoration and improvement of Social Services and the rehabilitation of the war ravaged areas
As has been alluded to, above, the situation of social services in Uganda and Africa in general is appalling. As far as the overwhelming majority of the people are concerned, there is no clean water, hygenic housing,, literacy, adequate level of calorie or protein intake, doctors available to treat people etc. etc. It is our policy to ensure .that, within our our means, essential social services are provided for everybody. Many of these are actually within our present means if the-country could manage to get the right type of leadership. Take, for instance, health—the elimination of diseases like malaria, syphilis, worms, gastro-enteritis etc. etc. The only thing we need to ensure is a large number.of medical assistants, health assistants and the availability of medicine; and the former two should not be a problem given the large number of school-leavers. The most important pre-requisites, however, apart from staff and drugs, are the elimination of corruption among the medical staff and the mobilisation of the masses to know the consequences of the diseases they suffer from but which are easily curable or preventable. During this war, for instance, we have discovered that syhillis is very rampant in Luwero District. The most pathetic aspect, however, is the fact that the population are relatively unconcerned about - it; you can find somebody with syphillitic skin marks completely unaware, that the is still sick, arguing that this is due to the past sickness and that it is normal!'!
All this is due to the abysmal ignorance of the people. The only way to eliminate this ignorance is through political mobilisation in order to consciencize the people against diseases- and have them develop faith in modern medicine. There is, for example, widespread belief in Uganda (particularly in Buganda) that "Obusukko" (cellulitis inflammation of the connective tissue due to bacteria) or "ttalo" (pyomyositis) is incurable by modern medicine; that it is due to 'somebody stepping over a magical charm which an ill-wisher would have buried in one's path; and that treatment for it is by "mumbwa" (clay plus some herbs) and red soil, which form ideal breeding ground for tetanus. Busukko or ttalo are actually treated with antibiotics. This erroneous belief, however, was so widespread among the people that a prominent member of our National Resistance Council was about to die of cellulitis, secure in the knowledge that it was beyond the potency of modern medicine and within the exclusive jurisdiction of the charmsmen and spirit medium-men. Quite a lot of our political work entails educating the people that the "ttalo" is curable by anti-biotics, that the narrowness of the pelvic bones is not caused by the anger of "Lubale'"- (ancestral spirits) and that the caesarian delivery is the answer and quite easy or-that cerebral malaria is not caused by Lubale. Ministry of health budgets and World Health (WHO) Organisation's programmes will remain dead letters as-long as the people are not mobilised politically to combat their own diseases. 31/2 years in the bush have transformed us into small "general practitioners" because diseases are so rampant and are, therefore, inseperable from politicisation. The same goes for housing and literacy. Why should people live in grass huts when all you need to build a good brick house is making bricks from the soil and then burning them? One can even dispense with cement. Brick-making, however, requires a lot of labour which problem could be easily solved through mobilising communal labour at the village or butongole (sub-parish) levels-after all the villagers are made to do a, lot of communal tasks for visiting potentates—from ministers through the whole galaxy of officials accompanied with edibles that are forcibly collected from them. As far as literacy is concerned, there are enough form 6, form 4, and primary 7 leavers to wipe our illiteracy in Uganda and to be used in ensuring universal primary education for everybody and ultimately, universal secondary education although the latter would have to be planned for more carefully. Again the premises could be built on a self-help basis if the people are mobilised and the government would only be required to put in a small percentage of inputs e.g. assisting the timber industry that would provide the windows and doors and a construction industry to make other construction materials e.g. mabati (corrugated iron sheets) pattas, pails, ventilation nets and
While the restoration and improvement of social services will be tackled in the medium and long terms, a special programme must be worked out to start rehabilitation of the war-ravaged areas of Mbarara, Masaka, Mubende, Mpigi, Luwero, West Nile, Madi, Karomoja, Kitgum, Lira, Soroti and even Bugisu. The rehabilitation programmes should start even in the short run and international aid agencies should be involved actively.