March 2, 2024

Mayuge Health Centre IV accused of extortion and sale of blood

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The Inspectorate of Government’s anti-corruption campaign reached Busoga subregion this week, with Mayuge Health Centre IV being the first target. During a surprise visit by the Deputy Inspector General of Government, Anne Muhairwe,  the team was met with reports of widespread bribery for basic medical services, particularly surgeries for pregnant women and blood transfusions.

“I paid 50,000 shillings to a medic who demanded money before transfusing my eight-month-old baby,” a parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Deputy IGG.

Dr Ismail Wangubo, the Assistant in Charge, defended the practice, claiming it was due to resource constraints.

“We are a busy facility with limited supplies,” he explained. “When we run out of essential drugs or surgical equipment, we ask patients to contribute towards their purchase. Those who cannot afford the 200,000 to 250,000 shilling surgery fee are referred elsewhere.”

He further acknowledged challenges faced by the recently upgraded health centre, including inadequate supplies, equipment, staffing, and blood reserves for transfusions.

“Rare blood types like O negative are often unavailable here, so we have to obtain them from distant blood banks like Mbale,” Dr Wangubo said. “We charge patients for this service, but those who cannot afford it are referred to Jinja.”

Deputy IGG Muhairwe condemned the corrupt practices and urged locals to report such incidents. “The recent pay rise for medical staff should have curbed corruption, but the situation seems to be getting worse,” she remarked, emphasizing the need for a change in mindset.

The Deputy IGG’s three-day visit to Busoga will see her visiting various districts to investigate and address corruption concerns within the healthcare system.

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