By Jeff Andrew Lule and Allen Nabanoba
Health officials in Wakiso district have been accused of extorting money from patients at various health centres in exchange for medication.
During a council meeting at the district headquarters on Wednesday, councillors from various sub-counties said they had received complaints from residents that some officials were charging them money to receive medical service.
Hamidu Nsubuga, the district health and education committee chairperson, said they carried out a survey at health centres and realised that extortion was a big problem.
He, however, said many residents would not testify against the officials for fear of being victimised when they go back for treatment. “We discovered that some health personnel steal drugs from health centres. We arrested two officials with stolen drugs,” he added.
He said their findings indicate that in the past eight months, patients were charged between sh5,000 and sh20,000 for treatment. Nsubuga said they informed the Chief Administrative Officer about the matter.
The district council resolved to put suggestion boxes at all health centres for people to easily report the cases.
Matia Bwanika, the Masaka LC5 boss, said they had received complaints, but could not act basing on rumours. He also attributed the problem to lack of uniforms for their health workers.
“Since they put on ordinary clothes, other people can also take advantage of the situation and extort money from people,” he observed.
The council elected new district committee chairpersons. They were Hamiddu Nsubuga (health and education), Sulaiman Ssali (finance), Hebert Wasajja (production), Huddu Towasa (works) and Annat Nsubuga, for gender and community development.