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High Court declares the right to health Justiciable in Uganda

Kampala –Uganda – The High Court of Uganda has today declared that the right to health can be justiciable in Uganda. While delivering a judgment in which The Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) and others sued Nakaseke District Local Administration (Civil Suit No.111 of 2012), Justice Kabiito declared that the deceased Irene Nanteza’s rights to access emergency Obstetric care, life, health, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and equality and those of her children were violated.

This case was initiated after CEHURD was notified of the death of Irene Nanteza at Nakaseke district Hospital on the 5th day of May 2011. Ms. Irene Nanteza (RIP) had gone to deliver her baby like all mothers when in Labour. While at Nakaseke Hospital however, she was left to suffer an entire day without the help of a medical officer that would offer her a C-section since the nurses on duty had found her suffering an obstructed labour. She bled to death.

CEHURD decided to challenge the deliberate denial of the deceased Irene Nanteza’s access to emergence obstetric care for approximately 10 (ten) hours prior to her death and denial of access to the hospital ambulance to transfer the deceased to another health facility.

“Every woman in Uganda has a right to access emergence obstetric care. In Article 33(3) of the Constitution, the government of Uganda has committed to protect women and their rights, taking into account their unique status and natural maternal functions in society.” Mulumba, Moses, Executive Director of CEHURD noted.

Today’s judgement lays a very important precedent to Ugandans that have lost their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters due to preventable maternal deaths. We now have a platform for advocacy to ensure that expectant mothers have access to emergency obstetric care, access to quality antenatal care, access to maternal health commodities and to ensure that health workers that attend to them are well motivated.

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