NBS TV’s “Stealing from the Sick” Documentary Brings Trouble, Health Ministry Official’s Jobs at Stake

Investigative Journalist Solomon Sserwanja

A backbench Commissioner of Parliament, Hon. Peter Ogwang, has demanded that the health workers who appear selling government issued medicines in the television documentary, “Stealing from the Sick” should be arrested and prosecuted. 

Ogwang made the demand as a matter of national importance during the Wednesday, 19 June, 2019 plenary sitting chaired by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.

The NBS TV documentary in partnership with the BBC Africa Eye was played in the Parliament for about 10 minutes to give opportunity to MPs who had not watched it to have a sneak peek of it.

Owing to the length of the documentary, Kadaga directed the Clerk to Parliament to avail the entire documentary to all MPs. She further requested Members on the heath committee to make recommendations to the House after they had watched and discussed the subject matter.

Prior, it was aired on NBS TV on Monday, 17 June 2019. It uncovered evidence that the much-needed life-saving medicines were being sold illegally on the black market by health workers.

“This documentary exposes the rot on how drugs are stolen from government hospitals right from Kampala across the country. These drugs are delivered to hospitals and within a short time, they say the medicine is finished yet the pharmacists sell these drugs despite them having a ‘Not for Sale label’ ” he said.

Ogwang added that the racket is very big and it involves a number of people from the corrupt district health workers to the police. He suggested that all those exposed in the video should be investigated for causing such a loss in hospitals.

He added that the journalist, Solomon Sserwanja, should have brought the documentary to Parliament and not exposed the rot to the world. “The journalist should have been more professional and brought the documentary to you instead of taking Uganda issues to the world,” he added.

Hon. Semujju Ibrahim Nganda (FDC, Kira Municipality) was in agreement with the persecution of the culprits but disagreed that the journalist was not professional.

“Journalism is supposed to be for public consumption. The request should be to government to do more investigative documentaries. But he did a good job because corruption is not only for Uganda. If you steal, you should be exposed,” he said.

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