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Patient Attendant Spends Days in Nurse’s Garden to Clear Medical Bills :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Patient Attendant Spends Days in Nurse’s Garden to Clear Medical Bills

Iloku, a resident of Tukum in Soroti district arrived at the facility empty- handed expecting free service from the government health unit. But on arrival, she was asked to pay for the file, which the facility gives patients at Shillings 3,000.
Margret Iloku in the garden at Princess Diana HC1V in Soroti.

Audio 3

Margret Iloku, 63, spent almost two weeks weeding the ground nuts of nurses at Princess Diana HC1V in Soroti City to clear the medical bills of her daughter-in-law, Grace Acen who was admitted to the facility after cesarean birth.

Iloku, a resident of Tukum in Soroti district arrived at the facility empty- handed expecting free service from the government health unit. But on arrival, she was asked to pay for the file, which the facility gives patients at Shillings 3,000. As she was struggling to raise the money for the file, the nurses asked for another Shillings 20,000 to enable them to buy jik, powder soap, and toilet paper, a requirement for every expectant mother in labor at the facility.

Iloku was stuck and resorted to seeking help from fellow patient attendants in the ward. As she moved around helplessly, she was told that some nurses in the facility have garden work that needs labor. Iloku, who is also suffering from a joint dislocation offered to work to raise money in order to access help from the facility.

However, three days later, her patient failed to push the baby, a condition that required a cesarean section. As Iloku prepared the patient for an operation in the theatre, she was told to deposit Shillings 300,000 before the operation could proceed. Iloku had no money, prompting the medics to delay the operation. She later managed to raise only Shillings 130,000 after making several calls back home for rescue. 

After the operation, Iloku had to buy some drugs recommended by the medics to ease pain and facilitate the recovery of the patient. This added to her labor in the garden to enable her to get the money to pay the bills. By the time URN visited the facility, Iloku was still in the garden, five days after her patient was discharged. She told our reporter that she couldn’t go with the patient home since there were pending bills to be cleared. 

Ateso bite- Iloku speaks with Moris

//Cue in: “Dobodo aibodo…

Cue out…ne ecapitai.”//

But Ilolu isn’t alone in the struggle for health services at Princess Diana HC1V. Many other inpatient attendants who fail to pay for the service end up in the gardens of health workers in the facility. Florence Awayo, another patient attendant in the maternity ward also ended up in the maize garden to one of the nurses to buy a file and waiver for the 20,000 Shillings meant for jik, powder soap, and toilet papers. 

Awayo’s patient also had a cesarean section, for which she paid 150,000 Shillings. She told our reporter that much as the patient was taken to the theatre before the money was deposited, the medics threatened her with the life of the patient, Christine Abeja, in case she failed to pay the required fees.

Ateso bite

//cue in “Isirigin lu akotoi…

Cue out…isio da nuiswamai.”//

Dr. Alfred Anyonga, the in-charge Princess Diana HC1V says that he’s not aware of the charges in the facility except in situations where the anesthetists are not available. He said that the facility doesn’t have an anesthetist, sometimes requiring services from the regional referral hospital.

//Cue in: “At one point…

Cue out…who linger around.”//

Princess Diana HC1V has been on the spot over extortion by the staff for some time. The outcry attracted the interventions of the City Woman MP, Resident City Commissioner, and City authorities last year.