The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has blasted the management of Masaka regional referral hospital over the new policy requiring patients to present identity cards before they are allowed in.
On Monday, the hospital management unveiled a policy requiring all patients to show some form of identification and register at the main gate of the hospital. It came after some opposition activists announced plans to distribute relief items to patients.
The management also deployed personnel and cops at the main gate to screen people at all the entry points to the regional hospital.
Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the director Masaka Regional referral hospital also said that no patient would be allowed to have more than one attendant. She explained that the new policy was intended to address the security of patients and stem congestion in the hospital.
However, the introduction of these guidelines drew any reactions from patient’s rights activists and local leaders. One Wednesday, police clashed with several patients after they were denied entry over lack of clear identification.
Now, Uganda Human Rights Commission has also slammed the management of the hospital over the new policy. Willy Agirembabazi, the Masaka regional Uganda Human Rights Commission Officer has asked the hospital to rescind the new guidelines saying that they are in violation of several human rights conventions, on which Uganda is signatory.
Agirembabazi, who has also visited the hospital on a fact finding mission, says that the introduction of the guidelines will not only scare away patients, but they are also against their rights to access health services. He also says that requiring patients to carry introduction letter from local councils and IDs violets article 29 of the constitution.
Chrissy Odoi Owor, the Masaka RDC says he had a discussion with Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Hospital director on phone over the new guidelines. Owor says that he intends to visit the hospital to investigate how the guidelines are affecting patients.
Peter Ssenkungu, the Greater Masaka NRM Chairperson has also accused the management of Masaka Hospital of coming up with anti-government policies. Ssenkungu claims that the introduction of such policies is intended to incite patients against the government of President Yoweri Museveni because they are unheard of anywhere else in the world.
Ssenkungu says Dr. Tugumisirize has failed to manage the hospital. Susan Nabakiibi, a patient suffering from Hernia says that she spent about three hours at Masaka main gate on Friday before she was allowed to go for her operation. Nabakiibi says that despite the fact that she was in a lot of pain, the security guard kept her waiting.