Members of the Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) last evening awarded herbalist Dr. David Ssenfuka for his outstanding role in both drug development and media support.
Dr. Ssenfuka, the developer of SD2018 which is used by cancer and diabetes patients, was awarded alongside others for their continuous support toward journalists.
This was during a dinner that was organized by UJA at Hotel Africana during the commemorations of the World Press Freedom Day.
Speaking to reporters after receiving the award, Dr. Ssenfuka in return also lauded the media for promoting the works of researchers.
“This award energizes me because this means that people are seeing what I am doing and being appreciated.
We are going to fight Cancer and Diabetes with the help of media because you have the voice and audience,” he said.
Commenting on the update of the recent pledge by government to help him further develop his medicine, Dr. Ssenfuka said that the government is yet to offer the help which president Museveni pledged.
“Patience pays, we’ve got hope in government that they will help us which they haven’t but all signs show that they will help. We are aware of the challenges government is facing especially Covid so we are hopeful because the president couldn’t waste his time sending us envoys and all the negotiations we had.”
President Museveni in January sent a delegation to Dr. Ssenfuka, to discuss the role that the government can play to enable the processing and production of his drugs that those who have used them say are effective in the fight against cancer and diabetes.
“The President was informed about the work we do and the challenges that we face in trying to make this medicine available for public use…We have had a number of discussions with the President’s representatives including researchers at Makerere University and Mulago Hospital. We hope these discussions will result into the development of this medicine to the required international standards, Ssenfuka told reporters in Kampala early January
His medicine christened SD2018 has gone through animal trials and the results show that it is not only a remedy for diabetes but actually curative.
The dinner was organized under the theme: Focusing on Digital Challenge in Relation to Media and Press Freedom.
Journalists who attended the dinner accused security operatives for beating them up during coverage of protests and also decreed a poor pay by some employers.
In response to strict control of the media, Lt. Col. Emmy. T. Katabazi the Deputy Director of the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) said that there is no way media can be completely free.
“Media cannot be free but it’s rather a reflection of the will of the dominant group in the society. This group will always ensure that media chooses their side,” he said.
Kyetume Kasanga, the Secretary to the Media Council of Uganda said that Press and Journalist Act of 1995 does not protect the journalists and media freedom because the framers were in hurry and failed to address it.
“That’s why we came up with the Uganda Media Sector Working Group to address these issues but again journalists are too divided in cliques. How do you expect us to help you when you don’t work together?”
On a low pay, Joseph Beyanga, the Secretary General of the National Association of Broadcasters informed journalists that as they continue crying for low pay, they should ask themselves do their media houses make that money,
“Out of 320 radio stations in the country only 30 manage to breakthrough, of the 60 TV stations less than 5 are making money and when it comes to Newspapers all combined cannot sell 100,000 copies and as you see, how do you expect the media house to pay you that much money you want. We should re-strategize and see how we can make money through the contribution of CSOs, government agencies, business partners then salaries will come as demanded, “he said.
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