The East African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) is considering legal action against International Hospital Kampala (IHK) for possible negligence that could have resulted in the death of Nuliat Nambaziira.
Nambaziira, formerly a news anchor at WBS Television, died last week as a result of childbirth-related uncontrolled bleeding. She had undergone a cesarean birth a week earlier but later developed postnatal complications prompting a series of other surgeries.
At the time of her death, she was the communications and networking officer at EASSI, a civil society organisation that monitors commitments of regional governments towards gender equality.
EASSI is now spearheading a campaign which will, among others involve litigation and a series of activities aimed at fighting the broken public health system and systemic health failure and protesting against the unending cases of maternal mortality.
Sheila Kawamara Mishambi, the executive director of EASSI says that Nambaziira’s case was mismanaged, and they intend to hold all involved parties liable for her death.
“We’re planning to sue whoever is responsible. If its the hospital, let the hospital be sued if people can be willing to tell us where the problem was. If they can be willing to testify in court, then we organise them. That is the protest. We’re planning if need be, to sue the governments that have failed to protect the lives of mothers because this is paramount. In case a mother dies, there’s someone responsible, let it not just be a recorded statement that a woman died,” Kawamara said.
Kawamara says they want the hospital to explain what actually happened during Nambaziira’s operation.
“We want to know what exactly happened. We hear they used towels to stop Nuliat’s bleeding. We also want to know why Nuliat was discharged two days after having a C-sections yet the standard is three days.”
Kawamara explains that they intend to use the same platform to sue the government for leaving mothers to die and not providing enough financing for health care in the country.
“Why should the governments risk the lives of these mothers because when a government hands over the health care to the private sector, they are selling out their citizens. The ministry of Health is not doing enough to monitor and supervise these medical facilities. We need to see more finances targeted to maternal health care,” she added.
According to Kawamara, all the EASSI member states that include Tanzania, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Rwanda and Uganda must be held responsible because none of them has put the Maputo declaration into practice. The Maputo declaration calls for all countries to allocate at least 10 per cent of their national budget to the health sector.
Kawamara says that in the case of Uganda, health is one of the least funded when compared to other sectors.
“Health does not get any funding. Government funds defence, police and the president’s office. Other sectors like health are left struggling with peanut.”
Data from the 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey shows that the maternal mortality rate in Uganda stands at 435 deaths per 100,000 live births.