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Monday, July 26, 2010

African Union Summit

It has been a long week of tight security, many interviews and press conferences at the African Union summit in Munyonyo. As a science writer, it has been an interesting time to see that at least some attention is being devoted to health- maternal health and children development.

For this week, I have been going to Munyonyo, it could have been at least 10 security checks per day. That makes it 70 in a week! If there are any health effects these machines cause I could become a victim.

Well brother leader jetted in on Saturday, causing a traffic jam of about 2 hours in the small city of Kampala. I saw some boda boda riders wearing t-shirts with Gaddaffi’s picture. The extra long convoy, big bill boards welcoming him and the fight between his detailed security with Ugandan security is not new but typical of his visits to African countries.

Agenda setting: many international organizations, civil society and African musicians are in Kampala to persuade African leaders to devote at least 15% of national budgets to health. It is expected that this will not be businesses as usual of pegging their signatures onto documents and forgetting them.

This time, with the impressive turn up of African leaders for the Kampala summit and the many voices involved we only hope that the matter is taken seriously.

But of course, everyone is aware that African leaders are the least interested in health. If the agenda were to be set by them, the summit would just be discussing Somalia, Al-Shabaab and Sudan’s Bashir.

Precisely, that is where the hot discussion are except that big brother donor is watching and there is prompting. It is interesting to see how tempers rise when the issue is discussed!

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