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BACK AT IT! Woman sues International Hospital Kampala Over Negligence

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 “According to Munira, the reconstruction surgery wasn’t successful as one of the screws that were being used by Dr Mwaka during the surgical reconstruction penetrated the bone and broke through the cortex, the outer most part of the elbow”

This is not the first time IHK is being sued for negligence. In June 2019, Doreen Akoth sued the hospital for damaging her rectum during childbirth and sought compensation of more than Shs 10 million.

The suits come at the time when the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council is yet to give its verdict in another negligence case against IHK for the death of former WBS TV journalist, Nulait Nambaziira resulting from childbirth complications in 2018.   

As you read this, an Indian national identified as Munira Jivraj has sued the same hospital and is now seeking to recover more than Shs 77 million arising from alleged negligence. 

International Hospital Kampala

Munira has filed his suit before the Civil Division of the High court through her lawyers of Verma Jivram and Associates against IHK and Dr Edrisa Mwaka, a medical consultant at the hospital. 

She contends that in January 2018, Dr Mwaka carried out a surgical reconstruction on her right elbow after she fell off the staircase and sustained a comminuted fracture. This is where a bone breaks into more than two fragments.

According to Munira, the reconstruction surgery wasn’t successful as one of the screws that were being used by Dr Mwaka during the surgical reconstruction penetrated the bone and broke through the cortex, the outer most part of the elbow.

She contends that a second surgery was performed by the same doctor, a day after and she was discharged on January 7, 2018, despite complaining about pain in the right elbow since the injury hadn’t been corrected.  

Munira alleges that she was later forced to seek further medication from other medical facilities, which revealed that she had suffered post-operative supracondylar fracture (pain resulting from the fracture), post-traumatic arthritis of the elbow with clinical expressions of deformity and restricted range of motion.    

“The radiographs and CT scan have shown deformity of the distal humerus with non–union, and loss of articular joint space causing permanent injury and incapacity”, reads the petition in part. 

Munira says she later sought treatment abroad in India from Kokilabem Dhirubhai Ambani hospital and Medical Research Institute, where she incurred extra costs including hospital bills, operation costs, air travel tickets, visas and proper evaluation and management.  

She is now seeking to recover Shs 77.8 million as special damages arising from failure to take proper precautions to avoid the screws used in the operation from penetrating the bone and breaking the cortex.   

According to the breakdown, Munira says she spent Shs 500,000 at St Francis Nsambya hospital for a CT scan, Shs 4 million at CORSU Rehabilitation hospital for diagnosis, investigation and pain management in her right elbow. While in India, Munira alleges that she spent Shs 45.3 million, Shs 18 million for air travel visas, hotel accommodation for her and her helpers.  

She also reportedly spent Shs 10 million on other operation costs and miscellaneous expenditures as a result of the negligence. Court has summoned IHK to file its defense within fifteen days before the case is allocated to a judge for a hearing.

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Finance

“URA’s Taxpayers Appreciation Month Is Focusing On SMEs,” Says Akol.

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On Tuesday 3rd September, 2019, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) launched this year’s Taxpayers Appreciation Month (TPAM) that will focus on the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The theme for this year is “Every Taxpayer Counts”.

During a presser at URA headquarters in Nakawa, Kampala, Doris Akol, the URA Commissioner General said this year’s theme (Every Taxpayer Counts) is hinged on the fact that irrespective of status-presumptive, medium or large taxpayer, everyone counts and makes a contribution to the economy.

URA Commissioner-General, Ms Doris Akol

“Therefore, our focus this year is the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the unsung heroes, who contribute immensely to our economy,” Akol said.

She added that TPAM will involve a series of activities to appreciate and recognize taxpayers.

According to URA, it categorizes SMEs as any business with a turnover not exceeding Shs2bn.

She also noted that recent studies show that SMEs contribute over 25% of Uganda’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employ about 45% of the labour force.

“The total number of SMEs on our register is 376,657. The majority are in the wholesale and retail trade sector,” she said.

The revenue contribution to the economy by SMEs in the past 3 years can’t be underestimated.

URA figures indicate that domestic revenue contribution has been recorded at  Shs7.57 trillion, Shs9.08 trillion and Shs9.74 trillion in 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively.

SMEs’ tax contribution to the domestic revenue has been remarkable at Shs2.55 trillion, Shs3.03 trillion and Shs3.54 trillion in 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively. In terms of employment, URA says taxpayers in the SMEs category were employing 337, 099 people in 2016/17, 417, 652 in 2017/18 and 419 713 in 2018/19.

“Supporting SMEs boosts their growth, which would have a ripple effect on the entire country. We pledge to offer specialized taxpayer education services, knowledge and skills for effective business management, creating effective networking to name but a few,” Akol said.

Charity Tax Derby

In an attempt to extend URA’s CSR, on 20th September, 2019, URA is organizing a charity tax derby, a soccer match between URA and several CEOs. The Proceeds from this charity match will be used to support pupils of Bwama Primary School who cross Lake Bunyonyi in rickety canoes.

“We will buy for them safe motorized boats, life jackets and a water purification system. We urge the public to join us in this noble cause,” she said.

She added: “The TPAM grand finale on 27th September, 2019 will see us rewarding the compliant SMEs and exhibitors, who would have excelled at Kololo.”

The Planned Activities

As part of URA’s new focus of becoming a business enabler, Akol said the tax body will extend a free invitation to 1,000 most compliant SMEs to exhibit at Kololo Independence Grounds during the Taxpayers Appreciation Week (TPAW) from 25th – 27th September, 2019.

“This will offer them an opportunity to showcase their goods and services, make sales and networking opportunities,” she said, adding that alongside this will be the free daily Bomba Ya Business, specially designed lessons to impart free business skills for business growth and offer local and international trade opportunities.

“This is a special three-day curriculum facilitated by business management, trade, economists and other experts. We want to encourage the public to come and attend all these trainings,” she revealed.

Further, at Kololo, during TPAW, there will be several free health services among them free yellow fever vaccination, Hepatitis B testing, safe male circumcision, HIV testing and counseling.

“In order to give focus to the employment challenge, this year’s TPAW will feature a job hub and career guidance center. The hub will offer opportunities in various institutions and advice on the most lucrative careers. This is a response to the high rate of unemployment particularly among youth,” the CG revealed.

She added that businesses will be registered instantly in addition to instant issuance of driving permits. However, permit issuance will be followed by payment of requisite fees.

She added thatURA Senior Management are going to visit taxpayers countrywide to thank them for their continued contribution to revenue over the years.

“The taxpayers will be recognized and hosted to luncheons. We will also use this opportunity to engage and also receive feedback from them,” she revealed.

She added that as part of URA’s culture of giving back to society, all URA staff will on 10th September, 2019, be involved in countrywide Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to give back to communities where they work. “This is meant to benefit the less privileged members of society. It will be the second time that staff are involved in a CSR of this magnitude,” she said.

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Finance

MP Mawanda Secures Leave to Introduce BOU Amendment Bill Aimed at Reducing Mutebile, Kasekende Powers

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BOU Governor Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile(L) and his Deputy Dr. Louis Kasekende(R)

Michael Maranga Mawanda, the Igara County East MP has been granted leave of Parliament to introduce the Bank of Uganda Amendment Bill 2019.

This bill follows a recommendation from the COSASE report calling on government to establish an independent board of directors of the central bank.

Micheal Mawanda Maranga, Igara East MP

It seeks to amend the Constitution following a resolution by Parliament on 28th February 2019 which sought to remove the Governor and the Deputy Governor from being chairperson and Deputy Chairperson respectively of the board of directors of the Central Bank.

“We have had problems of accountability where a budget is made by top management headed by the Governor and approved by the board headed by the Governor. If there is a mistake that is made by management and carried by the board, which is headed by the same person, we shall not be able to rectify this problem,” said Mawanda.

Mawanda added, “currently, there is no ‘second eye’ in Bank of Uganda. This is the reason we are seeking separation of powers where the Governor becomes the chief executive then an independent person is appointed to head the board which can oversee the operations of Bank of Uganda.”

The bill seeks to separate the fusion between the Bank of Uganda (BoU) management from the board of directors.

It also seeks to provide for the functions of the Governor and to provide for the Governor as the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Bank and to provide for the resignation of a member of the board.

Elijah Okupa (FDC, Kasilo County) said that in countries such as Kenya and South Africa where the governor is separate from the board, the central bank runs smoothly.

Recalling what he termed as trouble in Bank of Uganda, David Abala (NRM, Ngora County) also called for separation of the decision making function from administration.

“You cannot fuse administration with policy making; we know the trouble we saw in Bank of Uganda investigations; this bill is the medicine that will heal what we saw during investigations,” said Abala.

Jonathan Odur the Erute South MP who seconded the proposal says indeed the powers of the Governor and Deputy Governor needs to be checked.

Odur requested the house to allow Mawanda work on the bill because the Government has been slow.

David Abala, the Ngora County MP says there must be separation of Power, and the administration and policymaking cannot be fused together. Abala supported the move saying it will bring sanity to the Central bank.

The plenary chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga approved the motion granting Mawanda leave of Parliament to proceed with the bill. Mawanda will now go-ahead to prepare the bill and present a certificate of financial implication.

According to the Bank of Uganda Act, the Central Bank Governor who is also the most senior officer in the bank also chairs the board of directors and is deputized by the Deputy Governor. The other members are the Secretary to the Treasury and directors from different departments in the bank.

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Technology

EXCLUSIVE: Airtel posts UGX338 bn in 2018 profit; makes more profit than MTN for 3 years in a row

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(LEFT-RIGHT): Airtel Uganda Managing Director, V.G Somasekhar, ICT Minister Hon Frank Tumwebaze and then UCC Director for Corporate Affairs Fred Otunnu at the September 2017 launch of Airtel’s 4G LTE service. In the last 5 years, Airtel has made an impressive come back, pegged on data and fintech.

Airtel Uganda, made a profit of UGX338 billion (USD91 million) in 2018, thanks to yet another good year of sales.

A meticulous 4 months research into the financials of the two telecom companies, shows that Airtel’s turnover in 2018, grew 5% from UGX1.16 trillion in 2017 to UGX1.21 trillion. Net profit grew much healthier- an impressive 38%- from UGX245 billion to UGX338.1 billion.

MTN Uganda, the leading telecom company in Uganda, at least by turnover, on the other hand registered a 44% growth in profit from UGX152.6 billion in 2017 to UGX220 billion in 2018. Gross turnover grew 8% from UGX1.4 trillion in 2017 to UGX1.6 trillion.

Airtel Uganda has since 2016 been Uganda’s most profitable telecom company and arguably among Uganda’s most profitable companies

This is the 4th straight profitable year for Airtel Uganda, since they acquired Warid Telecom in 2013. That year (2013) Airtel made perhaps its first profit ever in Uganda of UGX52 billion, but in the following year (2014), that, relapsed to a loss of UGX131.4 billion.

Airtel then bounced back in 2015 with a UGX52 billion profit and hasn’t looked back since then. In 2015, the telecom that is 100% owned by India’s Bharti Airtel bounced back with a profit of UGX86 billion, then UGX160.1 billion in 2016, UGX245 billion in 2017 and finally UGX338 billion in 2018.

On the other hand, in 2012, just before Airtel acquired Warid, MTN had just posted UGX400.4 billion in profit and this reduced to UGX302 billion in 2013. In 2014 MTN Uganda’s profit was 331.6 billion while in 2015, profit went down by 46.7% to UGX176.8 billion and further reduced to UGX96.3 billion in 2016.

In 2017, MTN profit picked up by 58.5% to UGX152.7 billion, reaching UGX219.5 billion in 2018.

The Warid factor

In April 2013, by the time Airtel Uganda acquired Warid Telecom, at a reported USD100m, MTN was the only profit making telecom company. The other 3 players, Airtel, Warid and Orange were all crippled by debts occasioned by years of loss making- giving MTN a big-boy market position.

Although MTN remains the biggest telecom company by revenue, Airtel has since its acquisition of Warid Telecom in 2013, narrowed the gap between itself and MTN.

Although the merger between Airtel and Warid did not give Airtel an immediate advantage in sales- MTN’s gross sales in 2013, stood at UGX1.2 trillion compared to UGX505 billion for the new Airtel, it is said to have earned Airtel, millions of customers.

It is these numbers that Airtel has leveraged to build a solid business- reducing the turnover gap between itself and MTN from UGX681 billion in 2013 to UGX340 billion at end of 2018- MTN took in UGX1.55 trillion and Airtel UGX1.21 trillion in gross sales at the end of 2018, compared to UGX1.18 trillion vs Airtel’s UGX505 billion in 2013 respectively.

Will Airtel Uganda one day, win back the No.1 market position?

Even though MTN remains the market leader- the unmistakable fact is that its growth has slowed down while Airtel’s growth is your typical fast and furious.

Comparatively, between 2013 and 2018 MTN’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in gross turnover and profit has been 5% and -5% respectively, while Airtel’s has been 16% and 37%.

This reporter asked both the MTN CEO Wim Vanhelleputte and the Chairman, Mr Charles Mbiire on what is causing the slow down and what they were doing to re-stimulate growth, but they did not respond in 4 days, despite promises of getting back to us.

An email inquiry to Airtel’s CEO Mr V.G Somashekar and the spokesperson, Ms Sumin Namaganda was also not responded to despite an acknowledgement of receipt.    

 Both companies, however did not contest our figures.

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