By Michael Aboneka
The heath services sector is a unique sector whose top-notch mission is to ensure a healthy world by saving all lives when they can.
However, I have witnessed several incidents where hospitals demand a down payment of the full amounts before a patient can be attended to and some ask for 90 per cent deposit. This is done regardless of the condition of the patient. I witnessed an incident at one of the so called major hospitals in Kampala where one had to undergo surgery resulting from the damage occasioned by the boda-boda hit men.
The Hospital demanded that the Four Million Shillings be paid before the patient can be operated and without it, they will leave him to die. Even when the relatives beseeched the hospital management to have their son operated and they have the money paid before he is discharged; all this fell on deaf ears of the Hospital management.
The family had to struggle and raised Four Million in about three days yet their son was wailing in pain and at the point of death. The operation was later conducted and the young man is out of hospital but with a huge debt to re-pay the four million.
The above is just one of the many scenarios that happen in Uganda despite huge investment in the health sector by the Development partners. The Hospitals are breaching the fundamentals enshrined in the Patient Charter-that lives should be saved first and any other issues are secondary.
The Medical sector and services is a unique one compared to other businesses as it all rotates around life and for one to choose to run it as though a kiosk is unfortunate.
We have many medical facilities in this country that are in direct breach of the patient charter and the medical ethos. They mis-diagonise patients to make money off the fake diseases, retain patients in the ICU even when they are dead just to prolong bills and this unfortunately is the new trend of most medical facilities and thus leaving the medical access only to a few while the vulnerable continue to languish in poverty and disease.
We have now resolved to profile these cases and soon we shall publish a list of the medical facilities that are unprofessional and in breach of normalcy.
We need to ensure that all Ugandans access medical services at whatever level without much difficulty if we are to achieve the SDG 3 on good health and a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.
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Michael Aboneka is a Partner at Thomas & Michael Advocates