11 January 2019

Uganda: I Was Denied Access to My Antenatal Documents - Nyanzi

Kampala — Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court on Thursday heard that sacked Makerere University research fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi had been denied access to her antenatal documents by prison authority.

Dr Nyanzi's lawyer, Mr Isaac Ssemakadde, told court that he had been directed by his client (Nyanzi) to make an application for court to order for production of her medical forms retained by Uganda Prisons Service after she had a miscarriage.

Mr Ssemakadde informed court that Nyanzi needed to consult with her private doctor on the status of her health because she was allegedly injected with drugs she was not aware of.

Dr Nyanzi told court that she lost her baby and that she is not sure of the state of her uterus as she bled profusely and feels some discomfort.

"Why am I being denied access to my medical forms? I suspect this government is set to scrap out uteruses of those in opposition. My private doctor is before court, I will need to consult with him after seeing my medical documents,"Dr Nyanzi stated.

WATCH:STELLA NYANZI: Court declines to release researcher's medical records

In response, the trial magistrate, Ms Gladys Kamasanyu, advised the defence lawyer to file an independent application in respect to the production of Dr Nyanzi's medical documents.

Ms Kamasanyu explained that the defence allegations are very serious. However, court cannot mix up cases.

"I am only setting the date for submissions in rejoinder to the alleged defective cyber harassment charge sheet," she said.

The magistrate's response did not go down well with Mr Ssemakadde. Speaking to Daily Monitor after the court session, Mr Ssemakadde said that he was surprised that the magistrate was overlooking a report of torture brought before her and she is failed to address the right to health of a prisoner.

Dr Nyanzi's friend one, Nana Annette Namata, a social rights activist who visited her in Luzira prison said they were shocked that Dr Nyanzi had a miscarriage in a prisons facility and it is morally troubling that they denied her access to her medical documents.

"I visited my friend (Nyanzi) in Luzira prison on Tuesday last week. She took a while to show up and they told me she was unwell. Finally, she showed up looking frail and she had cut off her hair, she told me she lost her baby," she stated.

Ms Namata said Dr Nyanzi bled for close to three hours with no medical attention because the prison attendants were doubtful of her health status, alleging she was already in menopause.

The Uganda prisons spokesperson, Mr Frank Baine explained that they were aware of Dr Nyanzi's medical condition but could not reveal what it was in line with doctor-patient confidentiality policy.

"We feel she's not in any danger. In case anyone is concerned about having those medical reasons, the best place is court. First of all, they sleep in groups. If the friend landed on that information and read, it might jeopardise the harmony in the sleeping place. Secondly, it betrays the oath of confidence," Mr Baine told NTV last night.

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