“Ojwok had a history of heart problems. He had been to America and India for treatment. “About four weeks ago, he was operated in India and was advised to rest for four weeks. But because of work pressure, he did not follow that advice,” said finance minister Fred Omach.
Oyam North MP Ben Wacha was with Ojwok at the Kampala Golf Club on Saturday night when he became unwell. “We talked and laughed, it was a normal evening. Suddenly, at about 10:00pm, he felt pain on the left side of his chest and asked me to drive him to Mulago Heart Institute,” a shaken Wacha narrated. “Even as we drove to the hospital, we were chatting and joking.”
The MP left him at the hospital to go and collect a doctor. He later drove to a pharmacy at Wandegeya to buy the drugs prescribed by the doctor. “When I went back to Mulago, I found him on a life-support machine and he could no longer talk. At around 1:00am, he was dead.” ”
Money and political connections cannot protect the wealthy and mighty in Uganda from fatal health complications. Only a major upgrade to our hospitals and attention to medical services will!
While this will not get anywhere near the publicity that the death of Mayombo had, for a number of reasons, the question has got to be asked as to whether this was a preventable death!
- It is the third death of a prominent Ugandan (the others are Bangirana and Katto) from heart problems within two weeks, and the second death involving a prominent Ugandan within leass than four weeks of a major heart operation in India!
- Where Katto’s and Ojok’s operations done in the same unit in India? If so shouldn’t their deaths be subject to a coronial inquiry or inquest as would be the case in other countries? There would also be a case for an audit of the outcomes and mortality of Ugandans who have had operations in this Indian hospital or others!
- With an ageing middle class in Uganda, heart disease is almost certainly going to increase. All three of these people likely had heart related deaths even though Bangirana was reported to have had a recent stroke -at 44 years! In a western country, Omwony Ojok would have been transferred to hospital by ambulance given the public awareness of the seriousness of heart disease particularly chest pain after a heart operation which almost certainly suggests a heart attack!
- In this day and age, why does a critically ill VIP let alone a paesant have to go to a pharmacy offsite (in Wandegeya) in order to buy medications required to treat a patient with a major life threatening critical illness which a heart attack is?
Other details of the medical management of his condition on arrival to hospital, the triage measures, the timeliness of his treatment as well as the appropriateness of such treatment should be the subject of such an inquiry which should include a cardiologist who is uptodate on the current medical and interventional management of acute heart disease!
Omwony, Mayombo, Bangirana and Katto are just a few of those recent deaths who are prominent to serve the purpose even in death of highlighting the real problems and deficiencies of healthcare in Uganda particularly the negligence of government! The others of course are malaria related deaths and mother and child healthcare!
All those 50 to 60 something year old tourists and CHOGM delegates should think twice before submitting themselves to our healthcare system!