The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has launched the 2018 Sickle Cell Run, calling on Members of Parliament to join in the fight against sickle cell disease.
Kadaga applauded the Sickle Cell Association of Uganda for the initiative, saying it will complement government efforts in the fight against the disease.
“The government doesn’t have enough facilities to manage sickle cell disease; this is a good start to assist in service delivery,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga was speaking at the launch of the Sickle Cell Master Run 2018 at Parliament, where she pledged to mobilize legislators to participate in the run and to realize the request for each of them to contribute shs1,000 per month towards the same cause.
The run is scheduled for 23rd September, 2018 at Kyandondo Rugby Grounds. It aims at increasing awareness about the incurable sickle cell disease and raising funds for the sickle cell treatment centre in Namalere, Kawanda in Wakiso district.
The Secretary Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda, Samuel Opio, who is also the lead organizer, stressed the need for awareness on the disease known to be incurable and debilitating.
“Each year 20,000 babies are born in Uganda with sickle cell disease, yet 80 percent of them die before their 5th birthday,” Opio said, adding that “Most of the sufferers are the most vulnerable in the community who are unable to access healthcare. As drug experts we feel we can help to raise funds to make sickle cell drugs affordable.”
In a related event, Kadaga promised to honor a plea from the run organizers to advocate for a repeal of the OTT tax which they say will limit access to information on sickle cell disease.
“I am the biggest opponent of those taxes; we need to fight lack of access to information, you can be sure OTT will also be handled,” said Kadaga.