PALLISA: A senior medical officer attached to Pallisa Hospital in Pallisa District has been arrested on allegations of soliciting a bribe of Shs 250,000 to conduct a caesarean operation.
Dr Moses Kirya, a surgeon was arrested on Wednesday afternoon and detained at Pallisa central police station after relatives of the victim – a pregnant woman admitted at the facility- tipped off police.
Mr Calvin Opule, the community liaison officer, Pallisa central police station confirmed the development and the arrest, adding that investigations are ongoing.
“The doctor has been arrested and detained at the police station pending investigations,” he said, adding that if proved that the suspect solicited money from the patient, he will be charged and prosecuted in the courts of law.
Mr Opule, however, cautioned health workers to desist from such acts, saying it’s not only the highest form of unprofessionalism but also illegal.
“This is to sound a warning to the rest of medical personnel to desist from corrupt tendencies because whoever will be caught in the district will face the law, accordingly,” he said.
However, police say Dr Kirya admitted receiving only Shs 150,000 from the patient as a token of appreciation.
Mr George Omoding Oule, the district secretary for health told Daily Monitor that the suspect demanded Shs 250,000 from the expectant mother in order to help her to deliver under C- section.
“The poor woman was hesitant but due to her worsening condition, she unwillingly paid him Shs150,000 out of the said amount,” he said.
But luckily, Mr Omoding, said when the woman was taken to the theatre, she had a normal delivery.
He said as result, the woman’s relatives asked the doctor to refund the money in vain.
“Their efforts to recover the money back from the doctor were futile and that is why they eventually decided to report the matter to police,” he said.
Residents and patients at the government aided hospital have on several occasions accused health workers of charging of them money before they get the services.
Ms Betty Nampidi, a resident of Pallisa town council, who had also just delivered a baby boy at the facility, said they pay a fee before they get attention from the health workers.
“The extortion of money from patients at this facility is a common habit and we have lived with it for long,” she said.
Previously, PACONET, a civil society organization also pointed out that health workers in the district are fond of secretly solicit money from patients in order to get services.
Although Dr Godfrey Ekisa, the hospital’s medical administrator could not be reached for a comment, the district health officer, Dr Geoffrey Mulekwa, when contacted, condemned the incident and his office has on number of occasions warned health workers against conducting themselves unethically.
“We strongly condemn such acts and the management of the hospital has promised tough measures to address such issues, including illegal charging and other unethical behaviors, “he said.
The LCV chairman, Mr Micheal John Okurut, said the district is working out a chain of mechanisms to crack down on such wrong elements in health units.
“Such acts deny ordinary people health services. We are going to work hard to root out such elements,” Mr Okurut, said.