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The right to health through the lens of media practitioners

The Uganda Law Society (ULS) is an Association of all advocates in Uganda. It has different clusters and one of them is the health and the Law cluster chaired officially by Mr. Mulumba Moses the Executive Director, CEHURD. It was launched in December 2017 and has already been nominated as the best performing cluster in 2018. The mandate of the cluster is to inform the ULS on the trends and topical issues in health and the law as an area of practice and guide on the ULS intervention in this area.

On the 15thday of February 2019, the Health and the law cluster had an evening chat to discuss,as a topical issue, health and the law through the lens of media practitioners.The Health and the Law cluster members had a face to face interaction with journalists on challenges they face while investigating health and the law issues in Uganda and discussed how best the Uganda Law Society through the Health and the Law Cluster can support them even as they undertake investigations on controversial topics.

This meeting brought together media persons, medical practitioners and lawyers to discuss legal issues affecting health in Uganda especially looking at access to health goods and medicines in light of the current stock outs and theft of drugs. The journalists complained of police harassment and lack of capacity in terms of knowledge of the law when they are carrying out their work.

We were able to increase awareness on the health and the law issues among lawyers since this is a one of kind meeting with the health and the law cluster of the Uganda Law society which is a start of many more to come.The cluster committed to be available for providing legal aid to medical personnel and journalists promoting the right to health. This will in turn create synergies between the lawyers in the cluster and the medical professionals and journalists.

By Laker Gloria

Safe delivery, a reverie for Uganda; Child theft at the peak.

By Nakibuuka Noor Musisi,

Until proper and well-coordinated systems are in place, safe delivery is likely to remain a dream in Uganda. When reports are made about child theft within health care systems, one can think they are just stories but the reality is true. Such happen. Many women have lost their new born babies in the health facilities; the cause of which is yet to be determined.

Just before the High court makes its pronunciation in a case instituted by CEHURD (CEHURD and others V. Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital) on allegations of child theft, another case has again been reported of a lost child within the same health facility, and the only National referral Hospital, under similar circumstances.

Many questions remain unanswered when we see such happen in the country. Could this be the reason behind Uganda’s failure to achieve MDG 4 and 5? Why do children get lost in the facilities? Is it the system failure or it’s the problem of individual health workers that opt for money out of these new born babies? Will the maternal death rates be reduced at this rate of child theft? Are mothers safer to deliver in health facilities or within hands of traditional birth attendants? Such and many more remain unanswered.

It is indeed disturbing to see a mother who goes through the nine months of pregnancy suffer due to system failure.This was the case for Ms. Anyongire Lovis and Mr. Fred Sanyu. It is alleged that the couple was delivered of a beautiful brown fat bouncing baby girl on the night of 2nd January 2014. After a few minutes, the health workers took the baby away noting that she was ‘tired’. The demand to receive their child has since been in vain. They were only given a body of a dark skinned borny baby girl the following day and on refusal of that, another body that fits their description (of a brown fat baby girl) was given to them.

CEHURD has intervened in the matter, we have interviewed the family and hope to meet the administration of Mulago Hospital for further particulars as we collect evidence to institute a health and human rights related case on behalf of the family.

As we progress to advocate for safe motherhood and delivery, many factors have remained constant that ought to lead the country down. Its unfortunate that health facilities that are meant to be safe places for delivery are turning into a market place for new born babies. Such factors coupled with medicine stock outs, poor remuneration of health workers hinder and will continue to hinder safe delivery within the health care system unless addressed.

Why drag the case for this long? Judge questions State Attorney

By Nakibuuka Noor Musisi and Vivian Nakaliika.


Today the 12th of November 2014, CEHURD together with Michael Mubangizi and Jennifer Musimenta appeared before her Lordship, Justice Lydia Mugambe to address her on the case against Mulago National referral hospital and Attorney General (Civil suit No. 212 of 2014)

Read More Why drag the case for this long? Judge questions State Attorney

Health workers on silent strike


Overworked and underpaid, health workers in Uganda have for decades fought hard to persuade the government to improve their working conditions. However, many of them have over the years given up the struggle, opting to join other professions and sectors, or staying in the medical field but giving half-hearted service, Workers MP Dr Sam Lyomoki has observed.

Speaking at a press conference organised by the Uganda National Health Consumers Organisation (UNHCO), Lyomoki said although the government may think it has beaten health workers into submission, this “go-slow” strike is even more dangerous than overt strikes, as uncommitted health workers can have a devastating effect.

UNHCO is a non-governmental organisation working to put pressure on Parliament not to pass the 2012/2013 health budget. Uganda is yet to meet the 15 per cent budget allocation required by the Abuja Declaration to which Uganda is signatory.

With a ratio of 1.8 health workers per 1,000 people, Uganda is also far below the World Health Organisation standard of at least 2.5 health workers per 1,000 people.
And yet, this financial year, the government slapped a ban on recruitment of health workers.

The government has also failed to retain health workers and many of them are seeking greener pastures outside the country. Health workers in Uganda remain the least paid in the East African region.

And with economic integration, Uganda is likely to lose even more health workers. Now, civil society has teamed up with parliamentarians and leaders in the health sector to demand that government recruits over 5,000 health workers this financial year, 2012/2013, if it is to meet the national health targets.

In particular, MPs have vowed not to pass the health budget until the 7.6 per cent allocation to the health sector is raised. This percentage is even lower than the 9.8 per cent of the previous financial year.

“We are not going to pass the budget because it affects us,” said Rosemary Nyakikongoro, vice chairperson of the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association.
Dr Margaret Mungherera, a consultant with the Uganda Medical Workers Association, says health workers “have fought this battle for too long.”

“As the highest-paid doctor, I receive Shs 1.9m after taxes,” she said. “There is too much money spent on newspapers, entertainment and ‘travel outward’ — I wonder what that is,” Dr Mungherera said.

She said the solution to the health sector crisis is not putting up new structures and buying more medical equipment, but utilising the already existing ones. This, she said, can only be done by recruiting proper personnel.