Awangale Ssabasajja kabaka wa Buganda! (Long Live the King of Buganda!)
Awangale Kabaka wange! (Long live my King)
Next week my kingdom, Buganda will be celebrating our King’s 61st birthday. We will be kicking off the week long celebrations this weekend with the #KabakaRun as was announced by the Katikkiro (Prime Minister) of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga. This is a charity run that raises money to help women with fistula (ekikulukuto) that has turned chronic in women leading to loss of lives.
This charity marathon has been going on for the last two years with a course passes through the Kabaka’s palace, the Kabaka’s lake, Bulange, Kasubi tombs, Rubaga and Namirembe Cathedrals and the Uganda Museum; with a 5km, 10km and 21km races. This weekend on 10th April, Sunday; people will be flagged off at the Lubiri grounds near the Kabaka’s palace. Registration is Ugshs 10,000 (app $3) per head through Airtel money who are the main sponsors of the run.
Why the funds collected are towards Fistula treatment?
Obstetric fistula – a devastating injury sustained by women due to prolonged obstructed childbirth – is a clear marker that health and social systems fail to support women during pregnancy and delivery.
The Buganda Kingdom minister of Health Dr. Ben Mukwaya showed concern for the increasing number of fistula patients in Uganda. The disease has been killing a lot of people in the past and he therefore advised the public to come help to save the lives.
According to an executive summary of Sharing the Burden: Ugandan Women Speak about Obstetric Fistula Women’s Dignity Project and EngenderHealth of 2007, Uganda had an estimated 2.6% of women of reproductive age who had experienced obstetric fistula (UBOS, 2007). Based on the population data of then this was equate to a national prevalence of over 142,000 women.
Wish I had found the most recent number to this effect, but if I am to look at the efforts the kingdom and NGOs have put in to treat this disease, I think the numbers have dropped to maybe half that figure over the last 8 years. And that is still is not promising for a disease that can be cured. The Katikkiro‘s call for people to participate in the Kabaka Run while using the tag #KabakaWange is welcomed and aimed to improve these women’s social and economic disciplines.
The funds collected are directly donated to Kitovu Hospital in Masaka, who offer free fistula medication and counseling to patients. The hospital was commissioned in November 2008 at the cost of about Shs60m contributed by both the Rotary Club of Guernsey in the UK and Africara of Ireland – Thank you!
Considering our poor health sector, Uganda needs all the hands and funds it can get for such diseases. So let’s go run and keep this hospital in good condition to continue doing what it’s doing for the women. They even have a program that gives all the healed women a free dress for a fresh start.