Putting an end to the hospital death notification controversy

By Anthony Kushaba:


Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Director Dr Celestine Barigye has warned hospital heads in the region to be extra careful while issuing death notifications.

This was after he was closing a workshop meant to train hospital heads in the region on the processes of generating and processing the notifications. Dr. Barigye, who is also charged as Director of Health Services in the Western Region, noted that in most instances, people take advantage of loopholes in health facilities and obtain death notifications without following proper procedures.

He explained that this is always caused by greed over property, as death notification is a prerequisite to a death certificate, which is obtained from NIRA. The Mbarara

Halson Kagure, the Mbarara Referral Hospital Public Relations officer, says that a death notification is processed in the hospital whereas a death certificate is secured from NIRA. According to Halson Kagure, getting a death notification necessitates one to go along with documents such as a medical certificate of cause of death, which can be generated either from the ward where the patient passed on or from the mortuary after a postmortem report has been conducted. Kagure adds that such documents are accompanied by the national identity card of the deceased, an introductory letter from the local authorities spelling out the minutes of the meeting held by the relatives of the deceased, and a person who has been appointed to pick up the death notification on behalf of the family.

However, Dr. Barigye claims that some people frequently show up at the hospital demanding notification with no proper documentation. He added that it’s unfortunate that some hospital heads don’t understand the process of generating death certificates and end up issuing them out, which can attract a legal response if another member shows up with proper documents. Recently, the hospital management, through its public relations officer, Halson Kagure, accused Shine Omukiga, an upcoming local artist, of trying to obtain the death notification without following due process. According to the statement, Shine Omukiga’s father died in the hospital close to six months ago after losing a battle to his long-time illness.

This website is reliably informed that Shine Omukiga never stepped into the hospital during his late father’s short admission but was the person fighting to get the death certificates.

Though the hospital authorities are yet to establish the local musician’s intentions, she didn’t appear as the next of kin on the deceased file, and our source intimated to us that it could have been linked to financial reasons.

In the post which Shine Omukiga posted on her social media pages, she accused one of the officials at the head of records of asking for 3.3 million shillings in order to give her death certificate. However, according to the hospital spokesperson, Kagure, they asked the complaint to produce evidence, but she instead abused them while declining to cooperate. The Mbarara RRH boss tasked all hospital heads in the region to always scrutinise every document presented to get the notification.

He also urged recorders to always record every death that happens in the hospital and ensure that a medical certificate of cause of death is generated. The just concluded training on death notifications took place in Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Histopathology and Research Laboratories and was attended by all heads of hospitals from greater Ankole under the close facilitation of the ministry of health and NIRA officials.