“… I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug …” This is an extract from the Modern version of the Hippocratic oath sworn by the Medical professionals in Uganda.
As the week of 14th November 2016 came to a close, a young lady, pregnant for the first time was rushed to Mulago Hospital, Kamuli to give birth. Upon arrival, she was admitted and the wait begun. On the 20th of November she gave birth to a baby boy. Due to some issues, the doctor recommended that the baby be given blood.
Come Monday 21st November, I received a message from a long lost colleague and the conversation transpired as indicated in the screenshot.
Following the appeal for blood, I did get a number of volunteers but distance became an issue. However, with advice from someone who knew a medical personnel in Kamuli, we were told to find out whether the hospital actually lacked blood or what was needed was money to “buy” the blood? Mulago Hospital, Kamuli is a government hospital and some of these services are meant to be availed freely or at a minimal cost.
Upon probing, I was shocked when this colleague on the ground told me that he had been requested for UGX 100,000/= in order to access one pint of blood for the baby. The transaction was completed just as the little soul bid farewell to this world. With no name, he was gone too soon at one day of age.
Filled with emotion, I was taken back to a similar scene a year ago when my late father was struggling with cancer at the Uganda Cancer Institute and he needed blood. The personnel in charge had refused to give us blood claiming there was none. It took the intervention of the Human Resource head of Mulago (who happened to have a relation with us) for the blood to be released. Sad, So Sad!!!!
This reminds me about the hippocratic oath that the medical personnel are sworn to. Do some of them really mean what they say? When they vow “warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife” do they really believe in it? Where is the sympathy when they illicitly expect a rural lady to raise US$ 30 for a pint of blood just to save the life of her new born baby? As a teacher, this is nearly half her monthly salary. The same oath they swear states, “I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.” Do they realise the economic terrorism and human genocide they are engaging in? Stories of Ugandans losing their lives during birth due to such professional greed are abound, but it is time we started talking about it. We can’t let ourselves be sacrificed at the altar of selfish and corrupt medical personnel whose primary drive is financial gain.
Many times we are quick to blame “Government” for not paying medical personnel well and hence the reason for poor service delivery. This however does not justify killing our mothers, wives and babies in the hospitals.If they strongly believe it’s justified, should every lady that is broke turn into a prostitute?; Should every jobless man become a robber?
There are some actions that stem from our morals and mixing them up with other frustrations will never justify them. How can you have blood in the hospital and still go ahead to deny a young mother the joy of raising her first child? When they sleep at night, do they really ever think about the untold suffering and tears they have caused many as a result of their lust for money?
Following the experience I got while treating a cancer patient at Mulago, I learnt that there is a network of thugs and blood sucking mafias that has taken over most of these government hospitals. These crooks overshadow the good that most medical professionals are engaged in. These thugs range from medical professionals to admin staff like accountants, storekeepers etc. They often times work in a sophisticated manner that their responses are very well syndicated giving the semblance of truth in what they are saying.
Once a lady at the X-Ray department in Mulago simply rejected any effort of helping us to access the services because we opted to make official receipted payments. Shame!!! What a Shame!!!!
If we have any modern day terrorists and blood sucking vampires, they come in the form of some of these officials working in the public hospitals. Before am crucified for being overly harsh on them, I want to emphasise that my concern hinges on those fungi infested rotten tomatoes that are making an otherwise glorious profession be rated in the same vein with the Uganda Police.
People are dying as a result of intentional neglect. They shed their tears over what would have been. Take it from me me, you may rejoice in the quick money made auctioning government property and services but the curses you pile upon yourselves and your descendants will be hard to undo. Only Jesus Christ will be able to turn the tide of those curses. Anything short of that, you’re just booking chambers in the deepest pits of hell.
With sadness, I want to say RIP nameless boy and to the mother, put God in prayer, all will be well.
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Baby Photo Credit: The Nairobi Times