Corruption kills kids, too

Outrage over the shooting at Newtown is rightly prompting many Americans to support stricter gun control. But why stop there? People have found so many ways to kill children and other innocents – drone attacks (perhaps 176 children in Pakistan), adulterated industrial products, and, here in Uganda, corruption. Maybe the technical term in Uganda is not “kill” but “prevent the prevention of death,” but the effect is the same. There’s blood on the hands of many people driving expensive cars around Kampala.

Thieves can hardly claim ignorance of the consequences of their crimes. For example, in December the Global Fund complained that $500,000 was missing from a program to provide mosquito nets to pregnant women and mothers of young children. These funds could purchase about 100,000 bed nets. Malaria is endemic in Uganda and accounts for the deaths of at least 70,000 children here each year. Ugandans know all of this from news reports and personal experience. So whoever took these funds knows that their monetary gain will result in long-term health problems for some and in death for others. They are cold-blooded killers.

This is hardly an isolated case in Uganda, where medical personnel, hygiene, and materials are often missing in action, despite the outlay of funds.

Strict gun control in the United States will save lives. Financial control in Uganda will, too.

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