Victims seeking justice for violations of their right to health are getting frustrated, since cases on health rights are yet to take precedence in Uganda’s courts, a Human Rights lawyer has said.
Giving references to a number of cases involving abuse on the right to health, David Kabanda a Legal Practitioner and Director of Programmes at the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) told journalists in a Kampala Health Convention, that some judicial officers do not take health as a right.
For example, on 12th July 2012 a 24-year-old Hajara Katushabe an expectant mother from Isunga, Kibaale, struggled to reach the local health centre, where she was not attended to, because the midwife was exhausted.
Katushabe and her child died at a health centre III in Kyanaisoke Sub-county, a cross section of the media reported.
Her story is not the only incident. Dr. Fred Muhumuza, a Health Economist at the Ministry of Planning informed that pregnant women are dying from preventable problems during pregnancy and child birth.
Some of the deaths are due to what is being referred to in medical terms as the three critical delays.
He explained that the delays occur in making the decision to attend antenatal, delay in transport to the health facility, which sometimes is caused by poor roads and risky means of transport.
In the case of Katushabe, it was the third delay where the patient is not attended to on time within the health centre. Legal Experts argue such cases present a challenge to enjoyment of rights to health.
Similar cases have seen Human Rights Activists take Government to court to recognize that maternal deaths in which 16 mothers die daily, is a breach of basic rights and an indication of the state’s neglect of maternal health care.
Edson Ngirabakunzi, Executive Director National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) suggested that right bearers need to know their health rights in order to raise voices when such rights are abused.
The case taken against the Government to Uganda’s Supreme Court was ruled as unacceptable based on the ‘separation of powers’ doctrine.