By Ruth Anderah & Barbra Anyait
The High Court in Kampala has ordered Mulago National Referral Hospital to pay Shs50 million to Ms. Fatuma Nakayima for the loss of her newborn baby within the hospital premises.
Justice Phillip Odoki presided over the case and held Mulago Hospital liable for the December 2015 disappearance of Nakayima’s newborn baby boy.
On December 26, 2015, Nakayima was admitted to ward 5C and delivered via C-section. A health worker informed her that she had delivered a stillborn baby boy. However, Nakayima was never given the body of the deceased baby or any confirmation of its death.
Following this ordeal, Nakayima petitioned the High Court Civil Division to determine the whereabouts of her baby.
After seven years of hardship, Justice Odoki ruled that Mulago Hospital violated Nakayima’s right to information regarding her child and caused her severe mental distress, requiring compensation.
Public health activists speak out
Public health activists lauded Justice Odoki’s judgment, highlighting its potential to improve security measures in public healthcare facilities.
Ms Dorothy Amuro, a human rights activist at the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) has urged the government to put in place mechanisms that will help ensure effective tracing of newborn babies from the point of delivery to departure from the health facilities.
“We are very grateful to Court that despite the 7 years, at least we’ve seen light at the end of the tunnel. We shall not tire because Ms Nakayima is not a single person that you are seeing here. She is a voice that is representing bigger numbers out there whose cases have not come before attention or some of them are not privileged,” Amuro said.