PRESS RELEASE: January 20, 2014
For more information, contact: Nakibuuka Noor Musisi, CEHURD, +256782496681
The High Court starts the hearing of a case on access to Patient information; Civil Suit No.212 of 2013
The Center for Health, Human rights and Development (CEHURD) together with Mubangizi Micheal and Musimenta Jennifer filed a human rights case against the Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital and the Attorney General in the High Court for Violation of fundamental human rights guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda of 1995.
The plaintiffs state that by denying the couple access to their medical records, opportunity to nurture and bring up their child, taking away their child without permission coupled with the daily mental anguish and agony they are going through because of denial to access their child or its body is a violation of their Constitutional rights and the defendants are answerable.
“I gave birth to two girls, but I was only given one. I was denied my child or its body. I requested for my medical records but they refused to give me a copy. I am traumatized and psychologically tortured every day of my life every time I look at my other child. I know my child isn’t dead, she is alive. I am afraid of giving birth in hospitals”, says Musimenta Jennifer, the mother to the missing child.
With the uncertainty as to the whereabouts of their Child or its body, the Couple tirelessly searched for their child but only to be given a fresh body after three days. They resorted to undertaking a DNA test which revealed that the child was not related to any of them.
“I searched for my child in the entire Mulago hospital for three days but I failed to discover my child or his/her body. I was only called after the three days and given a fresh body of the child. I looked at the body but I was sure that this was not my child since the body was fresh. I requested for a copy of mortuary records to see when the record of the body of my alleged child was made but they did not give any, despite several requests. I decided to report the matter to police which advised me to undertake a DNA test. This test revealed that the components were negative. I approached CEHURD to file a Human rights case for the human rights violations my family suffered and we are still going through” Says Mubangizi Michael, father to the lost child.
Access to patient information is a key component of the right to health. Although the legal and policy framework in Uganda allows access to patient information and the Ministry of Health has developed good policies such as the Patients Charter, access to patient information is still illusory. A considerable number of patients visiting health facilities have been denied access to their health information and most of these cases go unnoticed since the patients are not aware of their rights guaranteed under the Constitution and Regional and International Human Rights Instruments, says Mulumba Moses, the Executive Director of CEHURD.
We believe that the Judiciary has a critical role to play to cub these violations and we hope the parties will get justice.