Letter to the Editor: Systemic Social Injustice in Uganda

Majid Sadigh, MD

Regarding their recent series, “A Connecticut Doctor in Africa,” Reporter Mackenzie Rigg and Photojournalist Tyler Sizemore did an exceptional job of capturing the situation at Mulago Hospital without injecting judgment or criticism. Uganda is a country of beautiful, resilient people, within a landscape that holds a bloody history. The reporters upheld professionalism in all interactions with patients at Mulago and with community members at home.

I carry a heavy heart from what I have witnessed at Mulago over the past 15 years. The poor sanitation and destitute conditions of many of the patients is overwhelming to observe. The reality that is most difficult to come to terms with is that many patients die preventable deaths due to a severe lack of resources. Their gentleness and innocence are evident by the absence of advocates on their behalf. They are beautiful, generous, and resilient; yet remain helpless, voiceless, and faceless.

These tragedies are the consequence of systemic social injustice. I have inexorable respect and admiration for my Ugandan colleagues, as well as the administrators, nurses and entire staff at Mulago. Many of these people are among my personal heroes. They have enduring lessons to teach- to me, to Dr. Ashraf, and to anyone who is witness to the vigor with which they advocate for their patients.

The publicity directed toward Mulago Hospital should be used as a medium to bring awareness to the United States regarding the harsh realities faced in resource-scarce environments. We do this with the hope that others will join the cause in a simple attempt to advocate for the patients that my colleagues and I have come to know and care for over the years.


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