By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The registerer High Court Kampala has granted a certificate of agency and set a hearing date in a matter against Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng and Attorney General who are accused by Ugandans for not only sleeping but snoring hence failure to regulate private hospitals that are continuously charging patients exorbitantly especially during this COVID-19 pandemic season.
The decision came after the High Court of Lira informed High Court Kampala that the case needed quick management. ”The above case was registered at Lira High Court yesterday. However, the Resident Judge has directed me to transfer it to your office for onward transmission to the High Court Civil Division as per the directive of the Principal Judge for quick management,” reads Lira Deputy Register Natukunda Jeneva’s letter.
It is against the above letter, that High Court Kampala issued a certificate of urgency reasoning that miscellaneous application no. 199 of 2021 (which reads; Health Equity & Policy Initiative Heap) is urgent in nature.
High Court Kampala also issued a notice of motion stating that the applicant shall be heard on an application for the following
1. A declaration that the respondents’ omission and failure to standardize levies, rates, and pricing of medical services provided by private health facilities for legitimate purposes of availability, accessibility and affordability threatens and violates the patients’ right to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as well as their rights to life, health, human dignity, equality and freedom from discrimination.
2. An order compelling respondents to urgently consult all stakeholders and formulate and introduce fair and affordable payment ceilings for all medical treatments provided by private health facilities and the same be published in places accessible to the general public.
3. An order compelling the respondents to issue regulations that shall: a) restrain all private hospitals from holding patients and holding bodies of deceased persons.
According to the Court documents, this matter arises from the supplementary affidavit filed by Tamale Toffa through Ojok, Omara & Co. Advocates stating that his late mother Ms, Namugenyi Tereza succumbed to COVID-19 at Wandegeya based Paramount hospital as a result of poor management.
It is said that Tereza’s death was after she was discontinued from oxygen in favour of an Asian patient, who according to the Doctors was more “critically ill” than Tereza.
As if this was not enough, the documents add that the hospital authorities told Tereza’s family to pay 31,000,000/= (Thirty-one Million
Shillings) before they could get access to the deceased’s body for burial, an amount that the family failed to raise.
Therefore, the family say bearing in mind the circumstance under which Tereza died, it was not only unfair but also unreasonable for the hospital to demand such an exorbitant amount.
However, after the failure to raise the money, later on in the night, the family say was called by the hospital officials to come and
collect the deceased’s body which they finally honoured the next day.