Mbale health workers’ file sent to DPP for legal advice

Wednesday September 28 2011

By MUDANGHA KOLYANGHA

MBALE

The case file involving six Mbale Regional Referral Hospital health workers accused of negligence of duty and corruption, has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice and appropriate charges before they can be arraigned before court.

The eastern region police spokesperson, Ms Diana Nandawula, yesterday said the police had completed their investigations, and now await the DPP’s decision. “We are just waiting for the file to be brought back and then they can be arraigned before courts to answer charges preferred against them,” Ms Nandawula said.

The six health workers were on September 19 arrested while on duty at Mbale hospital following the death of Cecilia Nambozo, a pregnant woman and her baby after she was reportedly neglected for failing to raise Shs300,000 to be attended to. However, the six officials were released on police bond two days later. It is alleged that by the time of Nambozo’s death, the four doctors and two nurses were on duty but neglected her. However, the health workers deny the allegations.

Nambozo had checked in at the hospital by 6.00am but reportedly failed to raise Shs300,000 demanded by one of the hospital staff for her to be attended to. Ms Nandawula said the deceased, a teacher at Busamaga Primary School, went to the hospital on September 6, after experiencing labour pains but was reportedly neglected by medical personnel for 10 hours, leading to her death.

A report from the police surgeon, Mr Barnabas Rubanza, indicated that Nambozo died due to rupturing of the uterus. “Preliminary investigations indicates that there was a possibility of negligence of duty and corruption and this is what the police have to deeply investigate before another step can be taken against these officers,” Ms Nandawula said.

The Mbale Woman MP, Ms Connie Nakayenze Galiwango, also joined the voices of those calling for a speedy investigation and prosecution of the health workers if found to have neglected the patient.

The Uganda Women Parliamentary Association plans to table a Bill calling for an audit of the rising cases of maternal deaths by Parliament and hold the government accountable for every woman who dies at the hands of negligent health workers in public hospitals. According to the Penal Code Act, negligence of duty charges attracts a 10 year sentence upon conviction.

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