Patient drags Hospital to court.

The human rights activists have registered a land mark in fight for the right to access to information in delivery of health services, after court passed a verdict in their favor.
The Mukono Chief magistrate Juliet Hatanga judged that, health related information is fundamental in realizing the right to health, therefore, the patients are entitled to receive the medical documents from the hospital.
The Non-Government Organization (NGO)- Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) facilitated the case before Mukono Chief Magistrate Court, after one of the patients at St. Francis Hospital-Nkokonjeru, doctors refused to give her medical documents.
Ms. Tushemereire Sharon triggered trouble to hospital after losing her newborn baby in hand of the doctors, and the they refused to access medical information that details the treatment and cause of death for the baby.
Through, M/S Wamimbi Advocates and Solicitors, Sharon demanded her documents. However, hospital refuse, alleging that, it’s a private institution that the Access to Information Act only applies to government facilities. The hospital is a Lugazi diocesan medical project located in Nkokonjeru Buikwe District.
After series of court engagements, Sharon lawyers approved that, the hospital’s action trampled on a number Sharon’s rights. They said Article 41 of the 1995 constitution gives a right to citizens to access information from state organs. and agencies.
They (Sharon’s Lawyers) emphasized that Uganda has signed a number of global and international treaties, conventions and laws that are geared towards respecting the freedom of expression and access to information. They pointed out article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Convention of Civil and Political Rights.
While passing the verdict, Mukono Chief Magistrate Juliet Hatanga emphasized that, St Francis Hospital- Nkokonjeru being regulated by the national medical authorities and also being under the government Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement makes it a government agent which is entitled to reveal information under the Access to Information Act 2005. Therefore, the hospital wrongly retained Sharon’s medial information.
The Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) Legal Officer Ms. Elizabeth Atori described the judgement as a major achievement in the fight for the right to access information in medical services. She said that it’s a basis for further engagements to fight for the patients ‘rights.
The judgement is bench-mark that could be used as a basis to address the outcry of patients whose medical documents have been confiscated by health centres.
This is common scenario in circumstances where the treatment has gone wrong-leading to death of person or worsen the condition due to negligence of the nurses. The doctor do it as way of dodging legal actions and complaints to medical professional bodies.

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