Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 1932 EAT on Thursday 23rd March 2023.
The Inspector General of Government (IGG) Beti Olive Namisango Kamya has ordered an investigation into allegations of extortion at Mukono General Hospital.
Some of the hospital managers under investigation include Dr Godfrey Kasirye, the medical superintendent, Moses Bwogi, the facility administrator, and Sr. Alex Namala, the principal nursing officer.
The order follows complaints from patients and their caretakers who accused doctors of demanding money before they get health services. According to the complaints, the doctors demand Shs 100,000-300,000 for all major surgeries, and between Shs 400,000 and 1 million for a caesarian section. Last year, the facility registered 8,000 deliveries out of which 1,600 were C-sections.
Sonia Natukwera, who had come to attend to an expectant mother revealed that she paid Shs 450,000 for the caesarian section but was not given a receipt.
“I was asked to pay Shs 600,000 at the surgeon’s office but after pleading I was allowed to pay Shs 450,000,” Natukwera revealed.
Another caretaker, Patricia Atukunda paid Shs 480,000 after she was told that her young expectant sister would not be operated on without payment. Sharon Kisakye says that she paid Shs 280,000 for the doctor to operate on her sister who got a miscarriage. According to Kisakye, she was forced to acquire a loan from a moneylender to pay the doctor.
Although extortion at public hospitals is public knowledge, Dr Kasirye told Kamya that it is only people seeking services at the private wing that are asked to pay a modest fee. He noted that since they work with many patients, some may not appreciate their services.
“This is a government public institution and as such, we’re supposed to give free medical services. However, it is also true that by policy, we have to grade A services for those that have got the financial muscle to meet what it demands to have. An allegation is an allegation. If I told you that we deliver 700 mothers, it can’t be that all the 700 will heap praises on me. Some of them have individual demands that maybe, I have not met. As such, they can tarnish the image of the facility…I don’t take allegations as serious until proven otherwise,” he said.
Kamya instructed the head of the IGG regional office in Mukono, Sheila Apolot to investigate the allegations.
“As the people who pay tax government uses to give you services, you must demand for quality services. If you go to the hospital and they mishandle you, and there is no medicine and they are making you walk so many times and they ask you for the money, please come to the district inspectorate of government office, we shall take them on,” Kamya said.