Hoima Referral Regional hospital is under investigation for allegedly charging Shs 700,000 to treat and bury COVID-19 bodies, a service that is supposed to be free of charge.
Hoima resident city commissioner Samuel Kisembo Araali, says that members of the safe dignified burial (SDB) team attached to Hoima hospital have reportedly been charging between Shs 300,000 and Shs 700,000 from relatives of those who succumb to COVID-19 to cover the costs of disinfecting the body and facilitating the burial ceremonies.
He says one of the cases was reported over the weekend where relatives of a person who succumbed to COVID-19, were asked to pay Shs 700,000 to facilitate the burial team.
A relative of the deceased told URN on condition of anonymity that they were stuck after failing to raise the amount required to have the body transported and buried safely.
Kisembo describes the practice as illegal and a big burden to the community saying it will scare away COVID-19 patients from being admitted at the facility in fear of meeting such exorbitant charges in case of deaths. He says the issue is being investigated and called on the public to be on alert and report such people to security personnel.
SDB teams were trained in the district last year to handle the burials of those that succumb to the deadly virus. The service is supposed to be provided at no cost.
Three patients are reported to have succumbed to COVID-19 at Hoima hospital over the weekend. Meanwhile, in the neighbouring Kikuube district, health officials are worried about the increasing cases of COVID-19. Kikuube district health department is currently managing 25 cases of COVID-19.
Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube resident district commissioner (RDC) says that of the cases, eight are health workers, nine are humanitarian workers, one police officer, and others from the community.
He notes that all these cases were detected over the weekend, and warns the public against violating measures that were put in place to control the spread of COVID-19.