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Is mzungu savior killing babies in Mayuge?

Bach with a girl she adopted.

Many children die

According to national figures the eastern region ranks high in malnutrition. While the 2016 Demographic Health Survey puts the national burden at 29%, but up to 50% of children admitted in hospitals in Busoga region are severely malnourished.

Latest figures shared by Dr. Samalie Namukose, the principal Nutritionist at Ministry of Health, show that for instance 53% of children are anemic in the Busoga region and that many children there are born below 2.5kgs. Even those that are born above the normal birth weight, Namukose said soon become malnourished at about nine months of age.With these figures, children wards in the area are always filling with patients. Many of the children die.

Peter Dyogo Nantamu the District Health Officer (DHO) Jinja says, as a result, mothers are always desperate for help and when anyone comes up, they tend to run to them without a second thought.

Dyogo shut down Bach’s nutrition center in Jinja in 2015. This was after piling complaints about her enticing patients to leave Nalufenya Children’s Hospital before completing their doses to her clinic and that she was carrying out medical procedures that could at times turn out disastrous to patients.

Dyogo says the sense he got then was that Renee did not believe that Ugandan medical doctors knew what they were doing. He says complaints from her own medical staff kept coming to his office that she ignored their advice on prescriptions and diagnosis.

She treated severe acute malnutrition, tuberculosis, malaria,pediatric HIV, metabolic imbalances, anemia, parasites like Jiggers and hypoglycemia; a condition where blood sugar decreases to below normal levels. She would connect drips, do blood transfusions, and put patients on oxygen.

Then, the DHO made a spot visit on the facility and directed its closure realizing that both the clinic and its managers were not registered as a medical facility or professionals but as an NGO.

“It was a private entity at that time. I was surprised to hear that it is now operating under government. I don’t know how that happened,” Dyogo said on Feb.13 in a telephone interview with The Independent. He was cagey and asked us to instead of inquiring about the past consult with officials in Mayuge.

When asked, the district Health Officer Mayuge, Charles Nabangi said there’s an MOU between the health facility and Bach’s nutrition center at Kigandaalo HC IV. He could not give details of the MoU.

“I don’t know the details in the MOU. I don’t know the latest from that facility,” he said.

Kayaga says Nabangi might have just deliberately refused to divulge this information.

“Bach seems to be well connected. Many district leaders refused to talk to us too when we visited. We heard that the lady never made any record of the patients she was seeing.I went there but I was denied access to the facility,” Kayaga says.

Other sources who asked not to be named said the Office of the Prime Minister has warned those against Bach’s facility “not to antagonize people who are helping the country”.

Medical centres not supervised

At the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, the Registrar Dr. Ssentongo Katumba says Bach’s story speaks to a general problem of systems failure. For him, it’s the responsibility of government to ensure that such entities that come up are registered by professional bodies.

He warns that with the loopholes in surveillance and other weaknesses like lack of supplies, it’s up to Ugandans to be vigilant and beware of people who come as helpers in the community since many of them have a hidden agenda. In 2015, he says Bach approached them complaining about Dyogo’s move to close her facility in Jinja. He says after an investigation it was decided that the facility remains closed.

He says the local government in Mayuge needed to double check SHC’s record before allowing working with them. He suspects the reason it was taken to a government facility is because not a lot of regulation happens there.

Such happenings to him should be a wakeup call for government to improve.

“Many poor countries are suffering because of that white savior complex. We need to be very tough in regulation. We have heard stories of countries disposing of radioactive things in the name of donating medical equipment,” Katumba says.

On their part as the medical council, he says, they have tried to tighten the noose; especially with a 2017 scenario in Mengo hospital where heart surgeries went bad. To open a facility like Bach’s, one is now required to fill a form endorsed by district authorities, an APL of the supervising doctor who has not less than three years of experience and a duly filled commitment letter by a supervising doctor. And, when it’s a foreigner involved, in addition to academic certificates, they should have a letter of invitation from the place they hope to operate in Uganda, a certificate of good standing and clearance by Interpol.

For now however, the petitioners want court to completely close the facility and compensate mothers who lost their children. The case comes up on March 12 in Jinja.

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11 comments

  1. Katumba Ismail makumbi

    What have the local leaders done about it?

  2. Jean Williams Smith

    The White Lady should not be tried by Social Media . She surely went with good intentions, and was swamped by the overwhelming problems she encountered! There are horrific stories of desperation and hunger and exploitation by external agencies coming out of Africa. So this woman should be given a fair trial before her accusers.Jamaicans would say” good mi do, tenki mi get!”

    • Saddened Ugandan

      “Renee Bach is not a nurse or doctor; over 100 babies she treated have died.”

      If she wasn’t white…

    • Good intentions do not supersede the law and there is a reason that medical practitioners go through years of training.
      There are also stories of poverty, desperation, hunger, and exploitation in America but if the situation was reversed, the person knowingly practicing unlicensed and untrained medicine that killed 100s would be prosecuted without question.

  3. Concerned Citizen

    Hi Jean Williams Smith, If this Renee Bach was killing babies in your country (or if she had murdered your child), would you really post the same comment? Please be human. She is not a trained doctor, she kills people’s babies, and you post such a comment? Please be human. Today its babies of Mayuge being killed by someone pretending to be helping but clearly has other selfish motives, tomorrow it could be in your neighbourhood or house. Please be human. Please be human. Please be human.

  4. This is a tragic story.

    If at all these stories are true, the leaders in those are a mockery leadership. Why didn’t they follow and investigate the death of all those children?. There are gaps in the story though..Babies have been dying since 2012..why is are parents coming out now? Why would parents take their children to a death camp after many alleged stories of children dying at the hands of White lady’s remedies.

    Whoever reported this story on behalf of the Independent is an amateur journalist who deserves to go back to the drawing and learn how to do good reporting. This story is so much half baked, there is no way people can 100 children since 2012 and not report it to police until now.

    Why didn’t the Independent carry out an investigation and dig up to the root of the problem and produce concrete evidence instead of reporting these stupid and uninformed stories???

    Mr. Mwenda, I would love to think that you are a smart and well informed journalist, why would you allow such mediocrity in your magazine.. I find this story entirely lacking and absurd to read..

    -Jeje, Portland,OR

    • Saddened Ugandan

      rather tangential, shooting of messenger. it happened and continued because people took time to see what was happening, while others overfeared because it was a muzungu, others knew that as messengers they would be shot (fear of responses like the one above).

    • Saddened Ugandan

      As if she is your galufrendi? That’s another way muzungus get away with murder… name dropping, overflirting and or being seen overflirting with relatively powerful locals, mbu they are connected. Kumbe they are just good at faking. Wama Mwenda there’s nothing wrong with this article besides the disturbing revelations… and kudos to the author for exposing this nonsense.

  5. Saddened Ugandan

    rather tangential, shooting of messenger. it happened and continued because people took time to see what was happening, while others overfeared because it was a muzungu, others knew that as messengers they would be shot (fear of responses like the one above).

  6. we would smash her off

  7. You should all hang your heads in shame. So what she’s a Muzungu? Where are the 100 children that died? Fake news. I had dealing with Renee Bach when he helped me with a young man I was worried about. He was more than malnourished and had days to live. The so called doctors were not to be seen as he lay on a mud floor while his father sat by and waited for him to die. But he didn’t and is now healthy, happy a good student and thanks to Renee and Serving his children he continues to grow. That silly person who stated white woman flirt with elders, my what a small minded individual who probably has had more flirtatious liaisons in the whole of Uganda.

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