For Museveni to be taken seriously, UPDF should be pushing science to drive policy

(Last Updated On: 27 June 2022)

Recently, UPDF failed to meet their recruitment target in Lira over STDs among hundreds of applicants.

By Our Reporter

Kampala – June 27, 2022: Last week in Lira City, according to various media reports, the Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) team failed to hit the recruitment target after hundreds of applicants tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

According to the Observer newspaper, quoting Uganda Radio Network (URN), only 299 of the 495 applicants UPDF needed were negative (they were healthy).

The news, a sad one ofcourse got many wondering. Many wanted to know if Lira – or Lango, in general, should be taken with serious types of health interventions. Some health experts and a few locals have questioned why the UPDF would stigmatize the group in public. 

One expert said if the UPDF is pro-science and with its best medical facilities in the land, and their commander – President Museveni often saying he’s passionate about science in general – the vulnerable group in Lira who tested positive for STDs would be admitted first for treatment. 

“Because of bad policies and bias, most vulnerable people are deterred from accessing the services they need,” James William Mugeni, Medical Clinical Officer said.

According to him, the UPDF should be pushing science to drive policy if at all Museveni should be taken seriously on his scientific assertions. 

“This year, the International AIDS Society (IAS) will join with partners. Museveni makes statements on Science not knowing the Science of HIV in Context of Criminal Law authored by leading scientist stops discrimination around the world…”

“HIV undermines public health,” noted, adding, “I hope that the expert statement becomes the gold standard reference for clarifying key issues of HIV science for the benefit of all actors.”

Speaking exclusively to this publication at the weekend, Mugeni stated that the ultimate test of Museveni’s science assertions will be the degree to which harmful policies and practices are jettisoned. 

“As human rights activists, we should work with country advocacy and human rights partners as watchdogs on this critical issue to ensure that science informs policy change and best practice.”

“Just imagine the embarrassment of statements like Lira fails to meet its recruitment quarter because of sexually transmitted diseases. Which disease is more serious than HIV/AIDS and is it still used anywhere to stop people from accessing services?” he asked.

He said having an STD cannot be a reason for not being recruited to the army. Uganda appeal to a science yet we cannot apply science and someone tells the world medics are in UPDF. Physical fitness is monitored, he said. 

Mugeni, a known critic of the Museveni administration said “They [Lira six applicants] would have been treated as the army should be a catchment area for management of minor illnesses.”

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