Betty Nambooze Bakireke, the MP for Mukono Municipality, says she wasn’t surprised when the hospital in the U.S. wrote to Parliament to say that she would be held longer than had been expected.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, Nambooze said although she was supposed to stay in the hospital for a maximum of three months, she arrived in America in a very terrible condition after spending a lot of time without getting treatment.
On August 3, Nambooze’s hospital in the United States of America wrote to the Speaker of Parliament to say that the MP might have to stay longer than expected.
Bellevue Hospital Medical Centre, through Nambooze’s physician, Prof. Allen Keller, said that the legislator needs to undergo extensive evaluation before she can be allowed to come back to Uganda.
“My particular expertise is in caring for survivors of torture,” a category in which she falls. “Over the past several years, [her] health has deteriorated as a consequence of injuries she suffered to the spine in 2017 as well as subsequent surgeries she underwent with limited success.” Keller’s one-paged letter reads in part.
Keller added that Nambooze now requires extensive and likely prolonged evaluation and treatment with the aim of restoring her health. This includes the possibility of her having to undergo additional procedures. The letter also says that Nambooze’s health was very bad when she was admitted, but that she has been doing well with treatment.
But because of how bad her previous injuries were and how her treatment has gone so far, she needs a lot more time to get the necessary evaluations and treatments.
Presently, we neither can nor is it appropriate to speculate on how long this will take. Keller, the founder of the Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture and an Associate Professor at the New York University School of Medicine, writes, “She will continue to get care under my supervision for the foreseeable future.”
Although Nambooze’s stay in the hospital has been extended by a yet to be determined period, the hospital has not yet asked for more money for her treatment. Nambooze said before she left Kampala in June, she was given 400 million schillings to cater for her travel expenses, upkeep and payment for medical bills.
“The hospital has not given me any new bills. I will wait to see whether they will make any requests. If that request is made, I will definitely turn to parliament. However, above all, I will turn to God as the provider. So many people have a lot of money but have not been able to go through what I’m going through. I’ve been sick for five years, going without treatment at times, but God has kept me alive.”I’m not concerned about money right now, and no one should be concerned that Nambooze is living extravagantly at the expense of the taxpayer,” Nambooze said.”
She added that her only worry now is the upkeep, which she says was not enough, especially after the increase in prices for both goods and services worldwide. Previously, where you were given upkeep that would take you through a day easily, this time you find that it’s not enough. I have not made any other requests for funds to parliament yet, yet I was given upkeep for only 17 days. Definitely, I have already exhausted that money. I think that parliament cannot choose to bury me expensively, yet there is an option to treat me. But in the unlikely event that they don’t come to my rescue, I will turn to God, the overall provider, to my family, and to my friends, “Nambooze said.
According to Nambooze, there are people who might think that the taxpayers are spending a lot of money on her. People are right to get annoyed with those of us who get treated on the taxpayers’ money, but I’m in this situation because of the work I was doing as an MP. “I need to be alive for me to participate in the struggle for better funding of our health sector so that we don’t have to be treated outside the country,” Nambooze said.
Nambooze was one of the MPs who were brutally attacked when the force that protects the President, the Special Forces Command, and other security forces stormed parliament in 2017. This happened after a standoff that had stopped the parliament from debating a controversial constitutional amendment to remove the age limit for the president for two days.