In November last year the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS) released a report Trust in Our Nation: Building Effective Governance and Partnership Systems for National Development.
The report said in Ugandan development context, it is easy to be suspicious and cynical of one another’s motives and behaviours, a situation which is not surprising due to a long legacy of broken promises and the easy resort to violence.
But cautioned that within this context, there is the greatest value in changing our mindset because behaviour worthy of trust is in such a scarce supply. But by no means is a change in mindset easy. Rather, if we recognise that trust has value, we can change how we treat and perceive one another, and therefore, what we can do together.
“We can unleash the development possibilities for Uganda if we consider prioritising trust. Newer, bolder, and riskier development activities rely upon relationships of trust because to operate in the absence of trust requires huge investments of financial, social, and intellectual capital to control uncertainty,” said the report.
This takes me to a news item about Dr Steven Pande, the newly appointed director of Moroto Regional Referral hospital who is reportedly conducting public dialogues to restore public trust in Moroto Regional Referral Hospital.
Dr Pande knows that the public has bad perception and has trust issues towards seeking medical services at the government regional facility preferring the private clinics including the Matany missionary Hospital in the Napak district.
“We can’t be earning salaries paid by Ugandans and we don’t give them the best services they deserve. We also can’t achieve much without working as a team.”
Dr Pande is using all available means including public gatherings to make people own and love the regional referral hospital. He believes that holding public meetings with the community will help bring out their fears for redress. He is also planning to fix the working environment for his staff. In essence he is trying to build trust in the health system.
“We have an opportunity to chart our path to development when we trust each other, formulate strategies and policies in a genuinely inclusive manner, and execute agreed-upon actions together. While we may not know what the “ultimate” developed Uganda looks like, we can start to make sense of our national situation and affirm each other’s ability to contribute to and sustain our development. As we build and sustain trust, we will give ourselves a meaningful purpose, which will in turn reinforce confidence in our nation,” said Peter N. Mugyenyi, the FUNAS, FAAS, FTWAS President in the foreword to the report.
I think pretty much that is Dr. Pande’s agenda at Moroto Regional referral hospital.