Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) has dragged the government to court for failure to intervene in the high medical fees charged by private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.
This comes shortly after multiple Ugandans have come out to alarm over the huge fees charged by hospitals for people in Intensive Care Unit which some upto five million shillings on a daily basis.
While speaking to journalists yesterday, Noor Nakibuuka the Director of Programs at CEHURD informed that due to the several complains that have been coming up, they were prompted to fight charges against the government.
“The rates charged by the hospitals are clearly exorbitant in nature and largely unbearable to vulnerable Ugandans seeking Covid treatment in hospitals amidst the pandemic and tough economic times. We are however surprised that no instrument has been issued to regulate the private sector as it supports the national response to Covid,” Nakibuuka said while addressing media.
The law suit is addressed to the Attorney General, the Ministry of Health and the Uganda Medical and Digital Practitioners Council and it states that government as the key health provider for a common good ought to have regulated the treatment rates against private exploiters.
“It is just inconceivable that government would fail to ensure a functional public health system and also negate its primary duty of regulating costs charged by the private sector providing health services amidst a pandemic,” informed Moses Mulumba, the CEHURD Executive Director.
CEHURD goes on to argue that it is not right that some people have taken advantage of the situation and are profiting from a situation that has troubled the entire country such as the Covid-19 guidelines.
“As effects of Covid-19 continue to ravage the country, more people are going to require treatment and management of the virus and since there is no regulatory framework to rein in private hospitals, these high charges will continue,” Mulumba further said.
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The organization went on to cite section 28 of the Public Health Act, which states that the Minister has the power to make regulations in situations similar to the one the country is currently undergoing.
“In the application, we, therefore, ask court to compel the Attorney General, the Minister of Health and the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council to intervene and regulate medical fees chargeable by hospitals in the treatment and management of persons suffering from Covid as is their statutory obligation.”