In his internal Memo titled ‘Overcharging patients and other forms of misconduct by private health care providers’ Katto indicates that the practice of overcharging patients and holding them plus dead bodies is not only illegal but inhuman and should be stopped.
The Deputy Director of Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID Paul Katto Tumuhimbise has ordered
commanders of regional/district investigations departments to probe and
apprehend all private health service care providers
overcharging, retaining patients and bodies of their clients for failure to clear medical
In his internal Memo titled ‘Overcharging
patients and other forms of misconduct by private health care providers’ Katto
indicates that the practice of overcharging patients and holding them plus dead
bodies is not only illegal but inhuman and should be stopped.
“You are therefore directed to take interest in
investigating and apprehending private healthcare providers who continue to
break the law by committing offences like wrongful confinement and hindering burial of the
dead that are closely stipulated in the penal code,” Katto’s directive reads in
The circular comes
two months after Centre for Health Rights and Development –CEHURD won a case
against Attorney General, The Medical and Dental Practitioners Council and the Minister of Health for failure to stop what it termed
as exorbitant, unjustified, and extortionate bills private hospitals were
subjecting patients to.
There was a public outcry during the onset of the
second wave of COVID-19 between April and June this year where some private hospitals ordered families to
first deposit as much as Shillings 5 million before their critically ill patients could be admitted in ICU or
put on oxygen.
Some people came out accusing hospitals of
demanding more than Shillings 50 million in order to release recovered patients or bodies for burial. On July 7th,
2021, the High Court ordered the government, minister
of health and medical and dental practitioners council to make regulations on
fees chargeable by hospitals.
“The Medical and Dental Practitioners Council to
make recommendations to the Minister of Health on reasonable fees chargeable by
hospitals for treatment and management of persons suffering from COVID-19,” the ruling read.
Grace Ssali Kiwanuka, the Executive Director Uganda Healthcare
Federation reminds CID that as private healthcare providers they are regulated
by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioner Council, Ministry of Health or the parliamentary committee on health.
Ssali adds that as private healthcare providers
often get challenges with patients who they refer to government facilities in vain leading
to accumulation of the medical bills.
Joseph Kato is currently a Master's candidate at Makerere University. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University, a Diploma in Journalism and he's also a graduate in Guidance and Counseling.