- Published on Monday, 06 August 2012 09:16
- Written by Nkwasibwe Geofrey
- Category: news
- Hits: 273
Government apologizes to bereaved family
The minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Daudi Migereko, has appealed for calm and patience, as the government investigates the circumstances under which an expectant mother died due to alleged negligence in Jinja regional referral hospital.
The 20-year-old woman, Sharifa Nakato Namubiru, also known as Hajira Nakato, died during surgery on Friday evening, after spending about two weeks in the hospital.
The death sparked fury from relatives and patient attendants, as details emerged of a family desperate to save its daughter and medical staff insisting on “cash before service delivery”.
“It is unfortunate and we are sorry for this to happen in such a government facility; but allow government carry out its investigations up to a logical conclusion that will help all of us since we are all candidates of the hospital” Migereko said.
When the minister visited the maternity ward on Saturday morning, after learning of the incident, there were no nurses or doctors in sight. It, however emerged, that some health workers were trying to conceal their identity.
“It is worrying that nurses and doctors are in fear of being beaten by residents if they dare put on their gowns; so most of them are in plain clothes outside wards. I, however, encourage them to attend to patients in wards because we shall lose more lives if they abandon patients,” Migereko said.
Some of the expectant mothers who were found outside the maternity ward on Saturday morning said three women had given birth in the night, with more assistance from fellow expectant mothers and attendants than from health workers.
Jinja regional referral hospital serves Busoga sub region and the neighbouring districts of Kayunga, Buikwe, Pallisa, and Mukono.
On Friday the late Nakato’s relatives protested the manner in which a gynaecologist at Jinja hospital allegedly neglected their patient and later solicited for money amounting to Shs 700,000 to operate on her. Angry residents stormed the hospital demanding the arrest of the doctor. They even threatened to burn the theatre and the whole facility if the law failed to catch up with what they described as hopeless and money-minded health workers.
The riot police was, however, called in to calm the situation. According to Ssalongo Sula Nsubuga Mubiru, the deceased’s father, Nakato was eight months pregnant. She experienced some complications and was first admitted in Iganga hospital, before being referred to Jinja hospital, where she was admitted for two weeks.
“I brought my daughter in Jinja hospital two weeks back when she was anaemic and doctors at Iganga hospital referred us and recommended blood transfusion. They also carried out a diabetes test but it was negative,” Mubiru said.
“Saadi Nsubuga, my son came and told me that the doctor was demanding for Shs 1m; I told him to request him to accept Shs 500, 000 and he instead reduced it to Shs 700, 000 before he could operate on the patient.
I had to borrow the sh200, 000 to top up the Shs 500, 000 I had in order to make the Shs 700,000, which we handed to [the doctor]” Mubiru added.
With the money found, Nakato, who was in much pain, was wheeled into the theatre where she was operated on. A dead fetus was removed from her womb. The mother also passed on in the theatre.
Her death angered the relatives, who attempted to storm the theatre to lynch the doctor. They were, however, restrained by the police.
Minister Migereko, condemned the act of soliciting money from patients, saying the government had to provide for every requirement in any government facility.
Cost-sharing in public health facilities was abolished 12 years ago. The condemnation was reiterated by the permanent secretary in the ministry of health, Dr Asuman Lukwago, who paid an impromptu visit to the hospital. It is understood that Lukwago was sent to Jinja by the minister of health, Dr Christine Ondoa, to expeditiously investigate the matter and report to her for urgent action.
Dr Ondoa was the medical superintendent of Jinja hospital before becoming health minister, and vowed to continue supporting the hospital as her former home. The OC CID at Jinja police station, Vincent Okurut, said the errant doctor, who spent Friday night in police custody, was on Saturday transferred to Kampala for thorough interrogation.
“When investigations are done, we shall arraign him in court to answer charges of negligence, corruption, murder and abuse of office” Okurut said.
By press time, according to the hospital director Dr Michael Osinde, the body was still in mortuary, awaiting pathologists from Kampala to conduct post-mortem.
Source: The Observer