CPAR Uganda Ltd

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Talk TB in the Budget

When we were starting these policy workshops, I told you that these workshops are different. They are different because they are unusual, because even the doctors do not discuss these issues they way that they have discussed them here, in an open way.  

If something is bad, say it is bad. You were invited for these workshops and we said we are going to discuss with these leaders openly; we are going to use the Chatham House Rule, where we want to be honest, talk openly, because nobody will be quoted individually.

I want to thank you for contributing to this very important process. As I said at the beginning, when an opportunity is availed to you to shape the future, you forget what has gone on in the past – whether it was good or bad, you use it so that the future will be okay. And that is what will be said, he did his part. Not so?

You normally hear when a person has gone back home, people will come from all walks of life and they want to speak. They will only want to speak in a funeral of a person who has touched their lives in different ways. It doesn’t matter whether you touch their lives in the way they wanted or in the way they did not want, but if that touch shaped them.

I was attending a funeral of a teacher. The people who talked most were the students, the pupils he had actually ‘punished’ a lot when they were growing. It happened that they became so bright and they were big people. So when they came, they said:

“You know he used to ‘punish’ us, we would say he was bad, but we thank him for ‘punishing’ us because it was that punishing that has shaped and made me what I am today.”

As an administrator, I do not want people to begin saying: “Okello is very good”, when you come and say: “I want this”, then I say okay you get it. No. If you can’t get it I will tell you, you cannot get it because this is not right. And they do not like me for it, but when I leave, they begin to say: “I think he was right.” You get it? This is because they begin to see the benefit.

I want to thank the doctors, the technical people, because you have guided us today. I want to thank the political leaders, starting with our guest of honour. I know you have been in many workshops and the like, have you ever started the workshop with the guest of honour at the beginning and up to the end? And the guest of honour speaks at the end? Is this not the first?

But certainly it will not be the last ... (applause), because your guest of honour is special, is unique. She is a teacher by profession. She is a leader, a political leader, she is a change agent and she has been working in this health area. She has been with the people all through. Who does not know? Even the small children in Gulu, the former big Gulu, when they talk about a woman MP, they know only her. I want to thank you honourable Betty Aol because you are down to earth.

I want to thank the CPAR Uganda Ltd Managing Director for managing to pull me and to keep me here for 48 hours. Tomorrow at 8:00 am, in my capacity as the Permanent Secretary of the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, Office of the President, I will be officiating at the launching of the anti-corruption campaign, because the international day for anti-corruption falls on the 9th December and we are starting the campaign tomorrow.

I am actually the host at the launch of the campaign tomorrow in Kampala. And you can imagine today at 3:00 pm I am still in Gulu. I am supposed to be at the Common Wealth Grounds tomorrow. The Prime Minister is the guest of honour. But the Managing Director has actually managed to keep me here. She must be a tough woman (applause). I want to thank her.

But also because I am committed to it, I said it doesn’t matter, I must be there and talk to these leaders. Let us start this change, from our districts that we are representing. Let us go to our budget and begin talking about tuberculosis. We want to kick tuberculosis out of our area.

And let us show it that we are concerned about this. That commitment is what will make us succeed. That commitment is what will make us different. When you leave office tomorrow, people will talk about it: “when he was in office he did this and that is why we have the change.”

For those of you who were not here at the beginning, this is the encouragement I want to give to you. It is a quotation from a very powerful soldier in America. For those of you who were not there I am quoting him again, because what he said was so powerful that it has changed me. I don’t fear anything, because I talk about things and they say: “Mr. Okello you are joking, you think that will succeed?” I say yes, it will.

This is General Collin Powell. He was Secretary for Defence for many years. During “desert storm” he was Secretary for Defence. He is a writer now, he has written so many books. He said, and I quote:

“Success is not a secret, but it is a result of preparation and hard work and learning from past failures.”

Anybody that does not learn from past failures will never succeed. Anybody who does not fail at the beginning does not succeed. You must first fail and if you learn from that failure you will certainly succeed. I am encouraging leaders like you. Some people want to give up. Some people want not to attempt, saying: “that is impossible.”

Thank you very much participants.

Mr. Alex B. Okello made these remarks in his capacity as the Finance Committee Chair of CPAR Uganda Ltd as he thanked 32 leaders – health experts, administrators and politicians – representing 13 district local governments, national government institutions, universities, private hospitals and civil society organisations, who participated in the high level policy workshops on TB in Uganda that were conducted by CPAR Uganda Ltd on Monday, 27th November 2017 in Gulu. The workshops are part of the two year research and advocacy project (January 2016 to December 2017) code named: “Tuberculosis: Working to Empower The Nations’ Diagnostic Efforts (TWENDE) that CPAR Uganda Ltd is implementing as part of a University of St. Andrews led Consortium. TWENDE is a team of academics and researchers, including the Managing Director of CPAR Uganda Ltd, that have joined together in a consortium to contribute towards breaking the cycle of the TB burden in East Africa. The lead TWENDE investigators include: research scientists, clinical researchers, pulmonologists, microbiologists, immunologists, paediatricians, physicians, public health specialists and a cultural anthropologist. The lead TWENDE investigators are from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and the United Kingdom (UK); and are affiliated to seven institutions that make up the TWENDE Consortium. TWENDE is funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), under its EDCT2 programme, funded by the Horizon 2020 European Union funding for Research and Innovation.