President Yoweri Museveni has hailed Dr. John Ekure, an orthopaedic specialist who overcame his personal tragedy when his mother died and exploited his opportunities and challenges by investing in a multi-million orthopaedic facility to help other Ugandans.
“The important thing is that he transcended that tragedy and made something out of his life. He studied on a government programme and after he got an education not only as the only specialist orthopedic doctor here, he became something else, an entrepreneur. Somebody who has spectacles to see opportunities and challenges and exploit them is brilliant. I came to give him moral and material support,” he said.
The President said he would direct the Minister for works and Transport to work with the contractors of the Tororo – Soroti road to include a section of the road leading to the orthopaedic centre so that the tarmac can protect the equipment in the hospital from dust.
He also pledge to bring electricity to the centre and donated Shs 40 million in cash to the centre to buy an electric drill for the bones.
“This is a private facility but there is no reason why we should not support it because it is making a great contribution to the heath sector and changing the lives of our people,” he said.
The 40 bed, 25 doctor centre was built by Dr. John Ejure, the only bone specialist in the region, is the only such facility in Eastern and North Eastern Uganda. The Orthopaedic centre dedicated to Dr. Ekures mother Elizabeth Opola a midwife killed during the insurgency in 1989.
“I wanted to demonstrate to my kinsmen and youth that it is possible to initiate development projects and stay in the countryside. Let’s be patriotic, together we can do more,” Dr. Ekure said.
Uganda has very few specialist hospitals such as these and yet 10 percent of Uganda’s population has one form of disability or the other. Of the six orthopaedic surgeons that the country has, three are based in western Uganda, two in northern Uganda and one in Eastern Uganda. Dr. Ekure said the majority of bone patients in the hospital are as a result of road or traffic carnage on our roads.
“I do appreciate the challenges our country is facing in terms of human capital flight among professionals. One of the most pervasive myths in Uganda is that government, donors and other funders must shoulder all responsibility for peoples health, education, welfare, happiness and jobs simply because we exist, the real truth is that there is only one person responsible for the quality of life that one lives and that is you,” he said.
The President also cautioned the people against the deadly Hepatitis B virus that is ravaging the region, urging health workers to launch mass sensitization campaigns to inform the people. He warned against what he described as sexual nomadism and sharing instruments that are not sterilized.