Masaka Hospital Administrators On Spot For Failure to Tame Extortion

Masaka Regional Referral Hospital officials are under fire for allegedly condoning extortion by health workers at the facility. 

The State Minister in Charge of Economic Monitoring, Beatrice Akello Akori, has directed the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and Internal Security Organization-ISO to investigate the complaints of unchecked extortion at the hospital. 

She issued the directive following an inspection of the hospital Wednesday where she recieved reports of extortion from Obadiah Musimenta, the Masaka City Internal Security Officer. Musimenta pinned the hospital director, James Elima for deliberately failing to curb extortion by the health workers under his direct supervision.    

He alleges that on several occasions he has brought cases of extortion to the attention of the Director, whom he says has remained indifferent. Musimenta says that besides charging patients for the services, there are also several reports of patients who are denied drugs and instead asked to procure them from private pharmacies, some of which he says are concealed within precincts of the hospital.   

At the sidelines of the meeting, Musimenta presented to the Minister one of the victims of extortion who confessed that he was asked to pay a bribe of 150,000 Shillings before his expectant wife could be attended. 

Despite the victim’s failure to identify the health worker who asked him for the bribe, Akello instructed detectives to record from him a witness statement to support their investigations. 

She accordingly instructed detectives to investigate the top hospital officials for possible prosecution over negligence of duty and abetting corruption in a public facility. 

Dr. James Elima, the Masaka Regional Referral Hospital Medical Director wasn’t present to respond to the allegations. However, Dr. Gozanga Ssenyodo, the Head of the Gynecology department indicated that the alleged extortionists could be impersonators who sneak into the hospital and disguise themselves as health workers. 

He explained that the hospital set up a toll-free line for the public to report any form of abuse in the facility, adding that they have previously dealt with such complaints from patients.   

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