Health advocates have embarked on investigations that will lead to legal action against Medik Hospital and its health workers over negligence and violation of the patient’s rights in Kakiri Wakiso district.
The Center for Health, Human Rights & Development (CEHURD) a civil society organization is investigating a case of health rights violation of Hadija Najjemba an expectant mother whose uterus was removed without her consent and later detained by the health facility over treatment fees.
It all started on 12th May 2016 when Robert Kisitu took his expectant wife to Kikubampanga health centre to deliever before she was refered to MediK hospital in Kakiri Wakiso District where she was operated in bizarre circumstances.
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 the Centre of health, Human Rights and Development to take legal action to ensure adequate compensation from the facility and the doctors violated the patient’s rights despite the huge expenses he met.
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 her 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 objective this realized in 2009 the Ministry of Health together with Uganda National Health Consumers Organization come out with Patients Charter that ensures the rights of the patients are protected.
However the from Kisitu’s Ordeal a number of patients’ rights were violated and it’s upon these abuses that the Program Manger Strategic Litigation at the Centre for Health Human Rights and Development Primah Kwagala condemns practice of extorting money and detaining patients over treatment fees.
Kwagala further asked the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council to urgently investigate the facilities of Medik Hospital and its license to operate in the various areas in Uganda.
Turning to the ministry Kwagala says that there is need to urgently strengthen the measures in place for supervision and regulation of the private health facilities and private health workers in Uganda.
This particular recommendation stems from how health workers treated Kisitu and his wife Najjemba right from Kikubampanga health Centre to MediK Hospital which are both private. Kwagala is quick to add that the situation is unique to the private facilities, saying there human rights violations in Public facilities as well.
Health advocates say access to health as a right cannot be attained if the health services are not affordable.
On the issue of affordability, Kisitu’s narrative portrays an ugly scernario in the private health facilities where poor Ugandans seeking medical care are overcharged.
For instance, despite the payment of heavy treatment fees for his wife, Kisitu had to cater for transport of the health workers as the moved from different points to the health facility where his wife was admitted.
Explaining his ordeal Kisitu says that at one point Muhammed Mugwanya asked him to cater for the fuel expenses for an ambulance that did not even transport his patient.
“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 that will facilitate a Boda-boda cyclist who would bring blood for my patient the following morning… and I had to cough it out”-Kisitu
Still on the affordability issue, Najjemba was never discharged when Kisitu asked for a referral letter to go for better medical care and treatment at Mulago Hospital. This was because Dr.Kuno wanted him to first pay shillings 180, 000 he could not afford.
Even at the involvement of the area police, Dr. Emmanuel Kunonya insisted and detained the patient saying he must pay first. Kisitu attribute the release of his wife from Medik Hospital to the aggressiveness of his boda-boda colleagues, a media friend that asked for the intervention of Kakiri Mayor.
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.
Center for Health, Human Rights & Development (CEHURD) now pledges to continue to monitor the investigations being carried out into the matter to ensure that whoever is liable is appropriately held responsible. 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.