Makerere Student found Operating illegal clinic for 12 years

DICK Senoga, a fifth-year student of medicine at Makerere University, was on Thursday intercepted by the Police and the State House Health Monitoring Unit (HMU) for illegally operating a health facility.

Senoga, who has been in the business for the past 12 years, runs a clinic, Dick Medical Centre in Lugala, Rubaga Division in Kampala.

Dr. Brian Arinaitwe, the assistant director of HMU, said one seeking to operate a health facility should be licensed by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council.

They should also be supervised by a registered medical doctor and the premises should reflect the professional nature of the business conducted which, among others, includes having proper infection control procedures, proper management of clinical waste as well as employing qualified medical practitioners.

However, an impromptu visit to Senoga’s clinic revealed that he lacked any of the above requirements but went ahead to admit patients. Admitting that he was in the wrong, Senoga asked to be pardoned.

“Please understand that I went back to medical school to make things right,”

The team also came across a clinic in the same area (Shamitex Health Clinic) that doubles as a drug shop. After numerous complaints from residents who claimed they had been wrongly diagnosed with malaria and typhoid, the team sent one of their colleagues to ascertain the claim.

A Police officer interrogates staff of Shamitex Drug Shop in Lugala, Rubaga division. Photo by Kennedy Oryema

The HMU team, however, did not heed to his plea and ordered him to shut down his facility. Two of Senoga’s nurses who learned about the crackdown exercise fled the premises and it was later discovered that they were unqualified.

“During our routine activities, we kept receiving reports about the irregularities in private health facilities in Kampala. We have indeed found drug shops and clinics that are unlicensed but are admitting patients illegally, which is one of the big challenges we face,” Arinaitwe said.

As it turned out, the lab technician at Shamitex, who later disappeared for fear of being arrested, gave the person fake results indicating that they had severe malaria.

“We found out that the microscope they used to examine blood samples was non- functional and this is how people are getting hoodwinked into believing that they are sick,” Arinaitwe said.

The ‘medics’ currently face prosecution. The State House Health Monitoring Unit was set up to monitor healthcare service delivery in Uganda, strengthen the Ugandan health system and to improve citizen ownership of health services.

“We shall continue monitoring public facilities and pursuing these complaints until such a time when there will be proper service delivery,” Arinaitwe said.

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.