Multiple mothers have accused Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital (MSWNH) of holding them and their newborns due to outstanding medical bills. In 2018, the government granted the hospital permission to bill patients and provide fee waivers for those unable to afford treatment, typically around 60 percent of what private facilities charge.
Two of the affected mothers, Lydia Namisango and Carol Nakabira, claimed they have been detained since October 11, although the hospital management refuted this claim.
During a visit by the media, it was found that Namisango owed Shs1.3m and Nakabira owed Shs1.377m for their C-sections, with Nakabira’s bill reduced to Shs247,500. Hospital records indicate that delivery costs range from Shs200,000 for a normal birth to over Shs2 million for complicated cases.
Namisango’s husband, Mathia Wasswa, explained that they were unable to settle the bill, leading to his wife’s continued stay at the hospital after discharge. He expressed dissatisfaction with her transfer to MSWNH without his consent.
While the executive director of Kawempe Hospital, Dr Emmanuel Byaruhanga, could not comment, Felix Kayihura, the client relations officer at MSWNH, denied any detainment of mothers, stating that both Namisango and Nakabira had been discharged. He emphasized the hospital’s waiver system but highlighted the need for revenue to support operations.
Jane Namaganda, a programme officer at the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), cautioned the hospital management in a letter, stressing that the health facility was not authorized to function as a detention center.