World No Tobacco Day 2017: The Health Cost of Tobacco Use in Uganda

Today, as the world commemorates World No Tobacco Day 2017 under the theme Tobacco- a threat to development, Hon. Chris Balyomunsi, Hon. Dr. Aceng Jane Ruth and Prof. William Bazeyo and WHO Country Representative Dr. Abdulaei D. Jack have launched “The Health Cost of Tobacco Use in Uganda – February 2017”.

The report was compiled by Makerere University’s College of Health Sciences – School of Public Health in collaboration with the Uganda Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa and Ministry of Health.

According to the report, 21% of the patients had a history of tobacco use (8% were currently using tobacco products and 14% had ever used tobacco). The proportion of patients who were current users or had ever used tobacco products was 32% for men and 9% for women. The total direct healthcare cost to all patients was about UGX 1.2 billion, of which the highest proportion 44% was on nursing and medical procedures and 24 % was on medicines.

Furthermore, the report indicates an annual average medical cost of UGX 3,697255 on a current or former smoker suffering from a tobacco- attributable disease, which is 2.28 times the annual average medical cost of a non-smoker, that is UGX 1,619,309 . The direct cost of treating tobacco -attributed illnesses in Uganda is estimated to be at UGX 108.05 billion.

At the launch, Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), was commended for issuing a legal opinion to the Ministry of Trade on issuing sponsorship licences to support tobacco farmers which contravenes with the law; sensitizing government ministries including; Office of the Prime Minister, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA )and Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development.

CEHURD was also applauded for the well-fought battle together with the Attorney General’s office in response to the BAT petition in court and was encouraged to take to court all institutions that will defy the Tobacco Control Law.

The launch follows the Constitutional Court in Kampala’s decision on 17th May 2017 denying an application by the British American Tobacco Limited for a temporary injunction to stay the implementation of some provisions of the Tobacco Control Act. The court stated that it found that the Applicants (BAT) did not make a case to warrant the grant of a temporary injunction.

Introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO), The World No Tobacco Day is intended to promote awareness of the environmental effects and health complications resultant from chewing or smoking tobacco.

Let’s all join the fight against tobacco use because a tobacco-free Uganda is everyone’s responsibility.

Shielding under the political question doctrine by the government violates human rights guaranteed in national and international law

By Nakityo Veronica

 

Uganda, as a country joins the world to celebrate human rights while recalling its history that is characterized by political and constitutional instability. The government is revisiting its commitment to building a better future by establishing a socioeconomic and political order through a popular and durable national Constitution based on principles of unity, peace, equality, democracy, freedom, social justice and progress.

We take notice that, the government of Uganda has had challenges in domesticating and implementing the right to health over the years. We have ratified a number of international instruments on the right to health and have further guaranteed fundamental Human Rights under chapter 4 of our constitution.  Uganda also made efforts to promote the rule of law and the doctrine of separation of powers under Articles 77& 79, 111 (1) & (2) and 129 as well as the doctrine of checks and balances under Articles 113 (1) & 114 (1) and 130 & 132, 134 & 137, 138 & 139 respectively.

On the other note, the Judiciary has often been seen to defend and uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda through its mandate on the right to hear and determine cases. Through jurisprudence that Courts of law have developed over the years on the right to health. In particular, Center for Health Human Rights & Development [CEHURD] & ORS Vs. Nakaseke District local administration HCCS No. 111/2012 unreported. Hon. Justice Benjamin Kabiito Declared and ordered Nakaseke District Local Administration to pay the widower, Mr. Mugerwa and his children general damages of Ugx. 35,000,000/= [Uganda Shillings Thirty Five Millions only] for their failure [acts and omissions] to ensure that its employees at the Nakaseke Hospital provide timely, immediate and emergency obstetric care that the deceased needed at the material time to overcome the obstructed labor that led to her death; amounted to a violation of her human and maternal rights as well as the rights of the widower and the children under the constitution.

We must acknowledge that Uganda as a country has the obligation to respect protect and take all steps to ensure that the human rights of its citizens are fulfilled and that the state is required under international, regional and domestic instruments to account for human rights violations. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda has to this extent created a mechanism under Article 137 (3) (b) to interpret such violations that are inconsistent with the Constitution against any person or arm of government. This reasoning was brought before the Constitution Court for interpretation in the case of Center for Health, Human Rights and Development [CEHURD] & 3ORS Vs. Attorney General Constitutional Petition No. 16/2011 were Honorable Justices of the Constitutional Court struck out the petitioners petition that was challenging certain actions and omissions of the government and its workers in providing basic maternal health services/commodities in public health facilities contrary to Objective 1(1), XIV (b), XX, XV, and Articles 33(2) & (3), 24, 34(1), 44(a), 287, 8A and 45 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda on grounds that the petition did not disclose competent questions that required the interpretation of the Constitutional Court. Further that Court could not look into the acts and omissions of the state because the issues that were raised by the petitioners in the petition were matters of political question doctrine

However, CEHURD appealed the decision of Constitutional Court on three grounds seeking court to hold that the Justices of the Constitutional Court erred in law when they misapplied the political question doctrine and prayed that the petition be allowed on merit

We applaud the Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court of Uganda for guaranteeing the right to health and upholding the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda by allowing the appeal and directing the Constitutional Court to hear the petition on its merits. While delivering the decision in the matter, the Justice Bart M. Katureebe, CJ, in particular noted that … “The Courts of law are given mandate to intrude into the domain of the executive if it acts outside or fails to act within the bounds of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court has vested powers of review, if a person alleges that the acts or omissions of any person or authority are inconsistent with the Constitution. Therefore the political question doctrine and separation of powers would not arise where the mandate has been given by the Constitution itself. The Constitution is Supreme over every one, body or authority and the actions or omissions of the executive are immune to judicial only as far as they are made in accordance with the Constitution”

Therefore, we remind all Ugandans that Constitutional Court has powers to review any acts or omissions committed by the executive or legislature that are inconsistent with any of the provisions of the Constitution. All stakeholders ought to hold, not only the executive but also the parliament of Uganda and the judiciary accountable for the violations of human rights under national, regional and international law.

 

 

Media Call for Grant Application 2015

MEDIA CALL 2015- CEHURD

This media call for investigative story ideas seeks to set the regional SRHR agenda for discussion,to improve visibility of Sexual and Reproductive Health challenges in the East African region and to build a class of media people that can report in an informed and objective manner.
The objective of this call is to increase documentation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and how far governments have gone in upholding their obligations to protect, fulfill and respect SRHRs in the East Africa region.
THE SPECIFIC AREAS OF FOCUS INCLUDE;
The state of maternal health in your country;
Legal and policy framework of abortion in your country;
Barriers to accessing SRH services among the youth and, strategies or initiatives to address these barriers;
Attitudes and practices (social norms) of abortion in your country.
Or any other story ideas in the area of SRHR that may have a direct or indirect bearing on the impact of unsafe abortion in any East African Country

Employment Opportunities

  1. Job Title: Monitoring and Evaluation Officer

Department/Group: Programmes
Reports to: Programmes Coordinator
Direct Reportees: All Programme Staff

Job Purpose: To develop and implement an M&E systems in CEHURD focused on data collection, analysis and reporting to ensure synergy in all programmes. The M&E Officer will be responsible for all the data collection, analysis, and learning activities to help ensure accountability and efficiency from start to finish for all programs and projects, both new and already established.

Key Responsibilities:
a) Programme development and implementation

  1. Work within the M&E guidelines and develop strategies for better monitoring of projects in CEHURD.
  2. Work with program managers to develop systematic and realistic monitoring plans that capture quantitative and qualitative data to report on project performance indicators.
  3. Coordinate the implementation of baseline surveys, follow‐on monitoring and evaluation exercises for various initiatives and projects in CEHURD.
  4. Build capacity of CEHURD staff, local communities and partners on the logical framework, data management, ALPS, data analysis and results‐oriented programming, monitoring and evaluation methods and principles and report writing techniques and requirements for relevant donors to ensure compliance.
  5. Develop program and operational reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition and aggregation of information in programs.

Details of the Job Description and qualifications can be accessed here>>>

2. Job Title: Policy Analyst

Department/Group: Programmes
Reports to: Programmes Coordinator
Direct Reportees: All Programme Staff

Job Purpose: The Policy Analyst will be responsible for evaluating, analyzing, researching and developing health care service, policies and programs in relation to the Advocacy for Better Health Project. Key Responsibilities:
a) Programme development and implementation

  1. Provide the project with robust health policy analysis in the country for better health of the project target groups.
  2. Document a health policy map out and identification of action areas for advocacy and develop strategies for engaging the health decision makers in the country
  3. Generate and inform campaigns at the national level for advocating for better health choices in line with CEHURD’s strategic plan.
  4. Work with Programme managers in CEHURD to engage those in charge of setting health policies to implement the solutions reached via research. This will include but not limited to preparing Policy or Research briefs, reports, testimonies for public hearings, presentations and petitions on health policies.

Details of the Job Description for policy analyst can be accessed here>>>

Application Submission Guidelines

 If you believe you are the ideal candicate for any of these posts, please submit your Curriculum Vitae, Copies of you academic documents and a cover letter in a sealed envelope, clearly indicating the position applied for on the “top left-hand side of the envelope” to:

The Executive Director

Center for Health, Human Rights and Development

Plot 833, Old Kiira Road, Ntinda

P.O. Box 16617, Wandegeya

Kampala – Uganda, OR

Email your application to: info@cehurd.org clearly indicating the position applied for in the subject line of the email.

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 26th February 2015 by 5:00pm

Addressing Global Health Inequities: Advocating for the Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH)

By Martha Mugisa

jallliRealisation of the right to health has proven to be a great challenge even though it is provided for in the International Human rights instruments.
Many states have shown more interest to address health inequalities within their countries through the enactment of the legislation. This has done very little to address some of the health inequities that still pose a threat to the realization of the right to health without discrimination.

These health inequities have caused one-third of global deaths nearly 20 million [death] every year. This is intolerable, yet ignored by those who hold the power to redress these inequalities.

A Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH) could catalyze national and global actions to collectively transform today’s injustices into justice; into the right to health; into a new chance at life and good health for untold millions of people.

This treaty [FCGH] grounded in the right to health is aimed at resolving the vast health inequities between and within states and help to catalyze a new era on global health.

In the bid to address the health inequities, the convention aims at creating norms to ensure the universal conditions required for good health, along with additional proven policies to reduce inequities, an enabling global environment – from sufficient financing to health-promoting trade and investment rules – and people empowered to claim their health rights.

The treaty will catalyze far-reaching legal and policy changes that stand to dramatically improve health, especially for people who have benefited least from recent global health gains. And further address the drivers of health inequities such as the social determinants of health, universal health coverage, accountability, discrimination, global systems and international policies in the provision of health services with a specific focus on the marginalized groups. In addition the Frame Work Convention on Global Health will address other determinants of health.

While the FCGH may not do everything needed to end health inequities, this treaty would be a powerful response to global health inequities. It could help save millions of lives, prevent millions of people from becoming ill, and improve the lives of those living with disease and disability.

It is therefore crucial to acknowledge that the causes of global health inequalities extend beyond the reach of a single treaty. But, enacting the Framework Convention on Global Health would be a landmark in ending health related inequalities.