Masaka Hospital locks out patients over IDs
Posted Thursday, February 21 2013 at 11:18
Dozens of patients were on Wednesday left stranded at the gate of Masaka Regional Referral Hospital after they were denied entry because of lack of identification.
This came after new guidelines announced by the hospital’s director, Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, that require patients and their attendants to present identification or letters from the local councils before they are allowed into the hospital. According to Dr. Tugumisirize, the move is intended to deter “wrong elements” who want to sneak into the hospital and cause chaos.
Dr Tugumisirize claims the hospital received information that Muhammad Ssegirinya, an opposition activist, has mobilised “thugs” to enter the hospital disguised as patients and cause chaos.
Police restrained several patients and their attendants who were blocked from entering the hospital for lack of identification.
Musa Mujuzi who was attending to his sick wife broke down and cried after he was blocked by police from entering the hospital after exiting to buy food. Mr Mujuzi said that he had only gone to Katwe – just opposite the hospital main gate – to buy food for his sick wife but was surprised when police stopped him from entering because he did not have an ID.
Dr. Asuman Lukwago, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, told URN in a Wednesday interview that he was not aware of the policy requiring patients to carry LC letters and identity cards to hospital.
Dr Lukwago said people are free to enter and receive treatment from any government health facility without presenting identification.
Tension has been high at the hospital since Monday, when opposition activists were prevented from distributing relief items to patients.