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Ugandan MPs condemn harassment of pregnant women

20 September 2013, 17:07 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - Authorities in Uganda have come out to protect pregnant women against rude medical personnel who allegedly harass them when they go to government hospitals and clinics for medical services.

This is after the government received a lot of complaints from pregnant women that they are not treated well in government hospitals.

Members of parliament who sit on Public Accounts committee have directed the Ministry of Health to provide adequate services to pregnant women.

Women not in company of spouse sent away

The committee emphasised that pregnant women, whose men usually refuse to accompany them to antenatal clinics, should not be send away or harassed but should instead be provided with the services they require.

The committee, chaired by Terego County MP, Wadri Kassiano, during a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Health, heard that women who turn up to the medical facilities without their spouses are turned away.

Mbarara Women MP, Emma Boona, who is also a member of the Committee said, "The ministry is abusing the initiative yet it was introduced to encourage men to escort their wives for antenatal services."

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Asuman Lukwago, in response said, "The staff at the Ministry of Health could have used it to escape duty but it’s not the policy of the Ministry to turn away women who do not come with their husbands."

He said his office is going to follow the complaint to see to it that it does not re-occur.

Pseudo husbands

Research carried out recently by the Ministry of Health revealed that men often fear their friends seeing them enter hospitals, clinics and health centers for HIV tests, and some women take pseudo husbands to the antenatal clinics instead of their real husbands in order to be able to obtain services.

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