News

All patients MUST have National IDs

The government is in advanced stages of preparations to enforce a proposal for only National Identify Cards (IDs) holders to enjoy healthcare services at public health facilities, this Website can reveal.

Health Minister Jane Aceng yesterday confirmed that they are setting up a digital system within-built mechanism to, among other things, enable pharmacies not to dispense drugs to patients without IDs

“We are already working on that software. We are still working as well as mobilising resources for it as we need it rolled put country wide,” Dr. Aceng said in an interview

Officials hope the plan will help create an easy-to-retrieve patients’ records, establish actual numbers and provide a mechanism of tracing, accountability and follow-up on use of medicines supplied to government facilities. The government plan yesterday drew mixed reactions from health rights activists, medical professionals and ordinary citizens.

Whereas Dr. Ekwaro Obuku, the president of Uganda Medical Association, welcomed the idea, some Ugandans are against it. Mr Onyul Larry, a teacher, said he lost his National ID last year and repeated trips to the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) to have it replaced have failed. “This means if I ever fell sick beforei got back my ID, I would surely have to rot. The government needs to look into this matter first,” he said.

ID Numbers

About 19 Million out of estimated 38 Million Ugandans have registered for IDs, although 14 Million have picked their printed documents, according to NIRA Spokesperson, Gilbert Kadilo. The National IDs are increasingly being required during school enrollment, registration Mobile phone Simcards and, in some cases, by financial institutions.

Mr. Moses Talibita, a legal officer at the Uganda National Health Consumers Organisation, demanded for enactment of law to guide technology use in healthcare delivery to prevent abuse of patient’s rights.

“The Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities Bill, 2017 [Should be passed into law because it seeks] to operationalise introduction of medical technologies that promote medically comfortable principles of medical records”

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