Kampala, Uganda – The former State Minister of Health in charge of general duties Sarah Achieng Opendi has received an accolade at the World Health and Wellness Congress in Mumbai.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network on Saturday, State Minister of Mineral Development Opendi said the award came off as a surprise.
“I didn’t know that my work was seen beyond our borders. The award simply inspires me to work even harder for my country and people. I am happy that I have been an influence to others. I hope to transfer this influence to our people in the mining areas to ensure their rights are protected and government reaps from this sector”, she said.
Opendi who served in the ministry for eight years was in December appointed state minister in charge of mineral development.
She says that during this time she was dealing the healthcare challenges directly and that every time a mother died while giving birth and the death is due to negligence or a request for a bribe from the medical workers were the lowest moments for her.
Opendi is remembered to have gone undercover and unearthed rot at the government-run Uganda China Friendship hospital in Naguru where she found that medical workers were asking patients to pay for services that are supposed to be free.
At the event where she delivered the keynote address, Opendi focused her discussions on strategies low resourced countries can use to achieve critical healthcare goals. She shared a story of how Uganda increased uptake of contraceptives from 26% when she joined the ministry to 39% as she left.
“In 2016 results if a survey were released showing increase in the uptake of the contraceptives.
This implied to me there was a reduction in abortions due to unwanted pregnancies and maternal mortality. This was as a result of the concerted efforts of all stakeholders arising from the First Family Planning conference that I proposed and was attended by religious leaders culminating into declarations to support family planning”.
The summit which is an annual event that brings together delegates from across the globe to discuss issues ranging from preventive medicine, medical manufacturing and technology, health and wellness industries in addition to hospitality and nutrition was held under the theme, ‘Sustainable Healthcare – Vision and Reality for the future’.