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Malac urges Uganda to focus on neglected diseases as she bows out

Outgoing US Ambassador Deborah Malac at a farewell dinner organised by Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng. PHOTO via @JaneRuth_Aceng

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Outgoing US Ambassador Deborah Malac has urged the Ministry of Health to equally pay attention to other diseases that continue ravaging communities as they focus on emerging infections, HIV and malaria.

She said during the four years she has been in the country, she has established that many people still die of anthrax, pneumonia, hepatitis, sickle cell anaemia and other diseases that are rarely talked about by health care managers.

Malac says that the same approach used to tackle diseases like Ebola and HIV can be used to save people from unnecessary death with the least funds possible. She was speaking during a ceremony organized, last evening, to bid farewell to the ambassador whose tour of duty in Uganda has come to an end.

Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said unlike other ambassadors before her, Malac paid specific attention to health having come in at the time when Uganda was carrying out the health demographic survey and now exits when a similar survey is showing a reduction in the prevalence of some diseases and improvement in the management of diseases in addition to tracking outbreak alerts.

Aceng says previously the US Embassy believed that most Ugandans are corrupt, a false belief that she has managed to dispel working together on projects that have had huge sums of donor funds.

As she leaves Uganda, the ambassador is also ending her 39-year journey of diplomacy where she has mostly served in Africa. As she retires to spend more time with her 91-year-old mother and her grandchild, Malac said she will be looking forward to celebrating the end of the HIV epidemic in Uganda by 2030.

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