Police Scraps Postmortem Fees

1514 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson, says the directive effectively stops medical officers and police surgeons from charging members of the public for postmortems and medical examinations.

Uganda Police Force (UPF) has finally banned postmortem and medical examinations fees for survivors of sexual and gender based crimes.

The Director Police Health Services Moses Byaruhanga communicated the ban on January 3rd, 2018 in a notice addressed to District Police Commanders, Regional Police Commanders and the Inspector General of Government- IGP Gen. Kale Kayihura.

"No Police surgeon or medical officers should again charge members of the public fees for conducting postmortem and medical examinations on survivors of sexual crimes," reads he notice. 



Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson, says the directive effectively stops medical officers and police surgeons from charging members of the public for postmortem and medical examinations.

 
//Cue in: "There are some…
Cue out: "…50,000 and 25,000 shillings"//

 
According to Okema, all postmortems should be conducted free of charge as the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) has disbursed funds to Uganda Police force for financing the various operations.


//Cue in: "Uganda Police Force…
Cue out: "…commander for payment"//

 
In Gulu district, medics at Gulu University teaching Hospital and the government referral hospital are often requested to step in for the only police surgeon  who serves the region to conduct postmortem operations on sudden or suspicious cases of death.

According to Okema, the health workers charge fees, which many families are unable to afford. He says some families have therefore been forced to take their relatives away from Police without postmortem being done citing exorbitant fees. 
 
This he says has forced police to seek court orders to exhume remains for postmortem at later dates due to emerging complaints from other family members.
 
An official working in Gulu Hospital mortuary told URN on condition of anonymity that the fees charged by medical workers goes towards purchasing gloves, detergents for cleaning the morgue while others are often shared with Police and staff of the morgue.
 

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.