By Hanning Mbabazi
Kampala: The State Health Minister Hon. Sarah Achieng Opendi has urged regional referral hospital authorities to install cameras at Ward to address the challenge of extortion and corruption cases in Uganda hospitals.
Opendi made the pronouncement on Thursday, October 24, 2019, where she said, its shocking that a big number of regional referral hospitals are stuck with the challenge of health workers demanding and extorting money from patients which she said affects health service delivery.
The Minister warned medical personnel to stop corrupting patients where she said that corruption cases reported at public hospitals scare away patients especially expectant mothers who end up in the hands of unqualified practitioners and traditional birth attendants.
Opendi said, installing CCTV Cameras at critical wards such as maternity wards where mothers are fleeced of money before getting services by either health workers or unscrupulous people will help get rid of such people.
The Minister said that mothers need to be encouraged to deliver in heath units but when this problem of extortion is not handled it will continue frustrating the call to mothers to always seek maternity services from hospitals.
She also instructed hospital authorities to ensure that all staff on duty wear uniforms with name tags to fight the problem of masqueraders that usually roam around in hospitals.
Masaka hospital director, Dr Nathan Onyachi says that the minister’s directive was timely since the hospital management is also devising means of fighting corruption tendencies at the hospital and they have already put up telephone contacts of all hospital administrators and notices stopping people from paying for services at general wards.
He said that is also considering installing a camera at the hospital main gate to address the thefts and smuggling out of hospital properties.
Corruption has been well documented in the health sector in Uganda. A study in Uganda reported that the resale of pharmaceuticals is the greatest source of income for health care workers.
In Uganda, it is estimated that over two-thirds of drugs meant for free distribution in the public sector were lost due to theft or went unaccounted for and that 68-77% of formal user charges were misappropriated or pocketed by workers.
In 2005, the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis suspended all donations to Uganda when over 1.6 million US dollars of grants went missing . To date, two Ugandan officials have been accused and sentenced for the embezzlement of Global Fund monies.
In September 2017 Dr Sarah Opendi, disguised herself in a hijab and travelled by