Health advocates have embarked on a probe that could lead to legal action being taken against Medik Hospital in Kakiri Wakiso district along with its health workers over negligence and violation of a patient’s rights.
The Center for Health, Human Rights & Development (CEHURD) a civil society organization is investigating a case of violation of health rights for an expectant mother whose uterus was removed without her consent and later detained by the health facility over failure to pay the hospital bill.
According to CEHURD, 2016 one Hadijah Najjemba, was taken to Medik hospital in Kakiri, Wakiso district to deliver her baby. Najjemba and her husband were later shocked to learn that the health workers had operated on her under bizzare circumstances that led to the removal of her uterus.
According to Robert Kisitu, the husband to Najjemba, the health workers at Medik Health facility denied him information about his wife which resulted into unprofessional operation that damaged her internal organs that resulted into unbearable pain.
Kisitu has now approached CEHURD to seek justice for the botched operation and try to get compensation from the facility for pain and financial cost that was inflicted on the couple.
The 30-year-old Boda-boda cyclist says his wife continued to suffer unbearable pain at the facility due to the negligence and mismanagement of the operation when the facility administrators refused to discharge and refer to Mulago Hospital.
According to the social and economic Objective Number 20 of the Uganda Constitution, the government of Uganda is committed to ensuring access of all people to high quality health care services. And to have this objective implemented, the Ministry of Health together with Uganda National Health Consumers Organization produced a Patients Charter in 2009 that safeguards the rights of the patients.
However according to Kisitu’s narrative, his wife’s rights were abused.
Primah Kwagala (pictured), the Program Manager Strategic Litigation at CEHURD, has condemned the practice of extorting money and detaining patients over treatment fees.
Kwagala has asked the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council to urgently launch an investigation into the matter.
Kwagala also blamed weaknesses in the supervision department of the Ministry of health which she said are responsible for these poor practices that often lead to death of patients.
Kisitu says that at one point, one Muhammed Mugwanya, the driver of Medik’s ambulance tried to extort money from the patient to take her for referral.
“Because I had 40,000 shillings only on me I asked him to take 20,000 shillings…but as we departed ways he came back to me asking for another 20,000 shillings which he claimed would facilitate a Boda-boda cyclist who would bring blood for my patient the following morning… and I had to cough it out”-Kisitu
Kisitu adds that the hospital refused to refer his wife for further medical attention because he failed to clear the bil of Ushs180,000.
Even after the involvement of the area police, Dr. Emmanuel Kunonya, the boss of Medik hospital refused to refer Najjemba, according to Kisitu.
Emerging reports indicate that whereas the District Health Services Department of Wakiso District Local Government closed down Medik Hospital, the facility has re-opened. Uganda Police has also initiated investigations in the conduct of the implicated doctors who were released on bond.
The health advocates say a lot more need to be unearthed for the protection and promotion of the health rights especially in the private health facilities.
Kwagala who has been investigation the matter on behalf of the centre says that they will ensure that family of Robert Kisitu and Haddija Najjemba are adequately compensated for their loss, pain and suffering.