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Govt orders probe into Mengo surgery deaths

Government has asked the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC) to open an inquiry into deaths of Ugandans following brain surgeries performed by American doctors at Mengo hospital between October 23 and 29.

The Observer has learned that the ministry of Health recently wrote to UMDPC to find out what went wrong.

Last week, UMDPC registrar, Dr Katumba Ssentongo Gubala, said: “We received a letter from the ministry of health on Monday (December 18) signed by acting director general, Health Services, Henry Mwebesa, directing us to investigate the alleged deaths following a neurosurgical camp at Mengo hospital and provide a detailed report of what happened within two weeks”.

The visiting American doctors getting themselves ready at Mengo hospital on October 22

The letter titled, ‘Deaths following a neurosurgical camp of Mengo hospital’ states that while on a TV talk show recently, state minister for Health Sarah Achieng Opendi was asked about the neurosurgical camp at Mengo hospital and  five patients who died.

A day after the talk show, the minister met Mengo hospital management who reportedly informed her that the camp was carried out by neurosurgical surgeons from Duke University, USA.

Some family members of the dead have raised fears that among the visiting surgeons were junior doctors not competent to carry out such complex procedures.

Under public pressure, the director of medical services at Mengo, Dr Rose Mutumba,  finally agreed to speak to
the media last week, saying 33 patients underwent surgery, 28 successfully, while  five died. She said this was “normal”.

The Observer has confirmed the deaths of Al Hajji Issa Kikungwe (former MP Kyadondo South), Hajji Mustafah Kisayire of Makindye, Francis Angelo Onen of Gulu and two girls. It is expected that the UMDPC inquiry will reveal the exact number of fatalities.

Mengo maintains the ministry of health cleared the camp which was conducted by senior neurosurgeons headed by a professor of neurosurgery at Duke University.

The hospital told Opendi that the camp is an annual event held in conjunction with Mulago hospital’s neurosurgery department but last year it started rotating to other hospitals like Mbarara and Mengo. Dr Katumba said UMDPC has since written to Mengo.

“UMDPC has been tasked to issue a report concerning the deaths of Ugandans following the neurosurgical camp at Mengo hospital. Section 2(d) and (e) of UMDPC Act, mandates the council to investigate all reported cases of professional misconduct to protect the public,” he said.

“This is why we asked for a report in three days from receipt of this letter, along with all the patient  les handled during this camp. It’s part of investigations that should guide the council in making an informed decision into the matter,” Katumba said.


+4 #1 rubangakene 2017-12-27 19:15
Sad but true; these Ugandans have been used by The American University as "platforms" to check out their interns, something that can never happen in the USA with their tough litigation culture.

If this was in the USA, the litigators by now would have bankrupted the University concerned as a result of Federal Litigation Protocols.

Give Ugandan doctors the equipment they need to carry out these operations. We don't need these 'erratic camps'.

Good grief, come to think of Mulago in the sixties where people came from all over Africa for such surgeries and then ask yourself what has really, rally gone wrong.

We have concentrated on building huge hotels for foreigners. We do not even have a sewerage system in Kampala! SHAME!
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+4 #2 Lysol 2017-12-28 02:44
The probe should extend to other hospitals too, like Mulago and Kampala International were Dr Joel Kiryabwire has worked.

There are many deaths connected with him, because of his rudimentary knowledge of neurosurgery and misdiagnosis and pure incompetent. He should be sued and his licence revoked for life.

Most under qualified medical students come to Uganda from abroad (without being vetted) to use Ugandans as guinea pigs, because the regime allows that. Not to mention the many clinical trials of the HIV/aids medications, mostly for financial gains.
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+2 #3 Zaitun 2017-12-28 16:13
If such doctors come to Uganda, it is because our so-called government has allowed it.

How can a country be run as a family property where qualified Ugandan doctors have no where to practice what they learned in Makerere Medical School, not talking our skeletic hospitals whose existence pose many a devastating questions?

Questions concerning medical facilities in place, pharmacies, Equipment... Who knows, the government had signed secret docuiments with these foreign doctors to use us as guinea pigs!

All that iterests our government officials from the top to bottom is how to get rich quickly but easily. With such a rudimentary comportment of our government, Ugandans can not see the light that is at the far end of the tunnel.
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