Opinions

Maternal Mortality: Abandoned Mother Bleeds to Death after C-Section, Husband Seeks Justice

By Grace Kenganzi

“My wife was left unattended to in the postnatal ward for close to five hours until I paid Shs 205,000 to have blood brought to Kibuli Musilm Hospital for her diffusion. Without any medical records, they told me to take my wife to either Mulago Hospital ICU if I still needed her alive,” Omony, husband to the deceased laments.

Rafaile Omony, husband to the now deceased Scovia Mary Alupo, is one of the citizens who have suffered loss of loved ones following incidences of negligence of duty by the responsible medical staff and failure to avail the required finances for immediate and proper treatment of patients.

“For the three days I was in Kibuli Hospital, I never got anyone to explain the state of my wife even during the transfer to Case hospital. I was never given her medical records. It’s only at Case Hospital that I was told that my wife is anaemic due to over bleeding and that she had suffered from liver damage,” Omony further narrates his ordeal.

Scovia Mary Alupo died on October 27, 2018 after undergoing a cesarean section, following which she bled to death.

Two years later, Omony has reached out to some in line health bodies to seek for justice for his late wife.

“Justice should be served for my wife and it should be a lesson that all women deserve good health care,” Mr Rafaile Omony implored.

On July 2, 2020, The Center for Health, Human Rights and Development filed a complaint with the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council (UMDPC) against Kibuli Muslim Hospital, challenging the violation of medical professional ethics, and human rights of Mr Omony’s wife.

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Uganda suffers a persistently high Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), currently at 336 per 100,000 live births which translates into 16 women dying every day during childbirth majorly because of lack of basic maternal health commodities like gloves, syringes, blood, medicine etc, which enable women to give birth safely.

This is worsened by the low political will to equip and sufficiently fund healthcare facilities, which sees two midwives working on more than 30 expectant mothers at a go.

“Women die every day due to severe bleeding while giving birth. Blood is an essential life saving commodity that can’t be replaced and so should be freely given to those who critically need it. Health facilities should be held accountable for any life lost due to failure to pay for blood,” Ms Edith Sifuna asserted.

“This is unacceptable and we need UMDPC to exercise its mandate of general supervision and disciplinary control over medical practice to uphold health and human rights,” she added.

Dr. Katumba Ssentongo, the Registrar at UMDPC says that their role as UMDPC is to supervise and exercise discipline action to all dental and medical practitioners in Uganda.

In two weeks time after reviewing the complaint (CEHURD & Omony), Kibuli Hospital will be notified through an official letter from the council to get their defence.

Ms. Alupo has become one of these tragic statistics and we cannot leave her death unaccounted for. CEHURD has therefore petitioned UMDPC seeking that Kibuli Hospital and the concerned health care workers be investigated and found culpable for the professional misconduct exhibited.

CEHURD equally intends to bring these human rights violations to the attention of the courts of judicature, seeking compensation for the family of Ms Alupo.

“We want UMDPC to take action against its members that violate the medical profession ethics, fulfilling their mandate of monitoring and regulating the practice of medicine and dentistry as per the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act,” Ms Ruth Ajalo, a lawyer representing CEHURD adds.

 

The writer is the Communications Manager at Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD)

 

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