The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Betty Olive Namisango Kamya, has initiated a probe into the allegations of patient extortion at Mukono General Hospital.

The investigation which is majorly targeting Dr. Godfrey Kasirye, the Medical Superintendent, Moses Bwogi, the Hospital Administrator and Sr. Alex Namala, the Principal Nursing Officer, among others. This is due to allegations that have been made that the above illegally requested payments from patients in return for medical services that are supposed to be provided without charge.

Several patients recently came forward with various complaints of having been extorted by doctors at the Mukono hospital.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.

“When I asked for a receipt, the individual who collected the payment at the ‘Surgeon’s Office’ informed me that I could only receive one if I paid the entire sum upfront,” she recounts.

Patricia Atukunda, an affected caretaker, paid the Ugshs480,000 only to be informed later that her expectant sister would deliver normally despite the medical form indicating that she would undergo a Caesarean section.

As stated by Atukunda, he felt let down by the fact that, despite paying a substantial amount of money to the unscrupulous hospital staff, they were compelled to buy extra medication from the private pharmacy located in the wing.

“We are totally inconvenienced by this situation. It would be beneficial if the government established an official and consistent fee for Caesarean sections, allowing us to pay and receive receipts for the services rendered.

Sharon Kisakye paid UGX 280,000 for a doctor to perform surgery on her sister, who had suffered a miscarriage. As it was a matter of life and death, they had to quickly obtain a loan from a moneylender to cover the cost of the doctor.

However, 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.

He added that, “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.”

The IGG of Uganda Hon. Betty Namisango Kamya

Kamya therefor 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.