Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The State House Health Monitoring Unit-SHMU has cleared Mubende Regional Referral Hospital of allegations of kidney theft. This follows investigations into allegations that the hospital had illegally removed a kidney from Peragiya Muragijemana, 20, a resident of Lwemiggo village in Mubende district who had gone for an operation to remove the uterus due to persistent bleeding.
In the findings, the State House Health Monitoring Unit, says that their investigations show that Muragijemana was born without the right kidney, a condition referred to as Renal Agenesis in medical circles. Dr. Warren Namara, the head of the State House Health Monitoring Unit says that examinations found only one scar of the lower abdominal incision, which was done to remove the patient’s uterus.
On April 24, 2022, Peragiya Muragijemana was rushed to Mubende Regional Referral Hospital after the placenta had failed to come out after giving birth with the help of a traditional birth attendant. Doctors at the hospital told her she needed to have an operation to remove the uterus, which was bleeding profusely.
She was discharged on April 29th, 2022 after a successful surgery. However, three days later, she developed stomach complications and went for an ultrasound scan at Mubende Imaging Center. The scan done on May 4th, 2022 showed that her right kidney was missing. When her story went viral in the media on May 26th, 2022, the hospital director wrote to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of health refuting the allegations and attached all the medical forms relating to her treatment at the hospital.
Police referred Muragijemana and her family to Mulago National Referral hospital where an abdominal scan was done by a radiologist Shafik Kikomeko confirming that she has no kidney on the right and the left kidney is enlarged. The State House Health Monitoring Unit dispatched a team led by Dr. Stephen Ataro Ayella and some medical staff to assist the police to find out the truth behind the case.
They examined the incisions on Muragijemana’s body where they found a single scar on the lower body without any other sign of being operated on to remove her kidney. According to Dr. Ayella, an epidemiologist working with the State House Health Monitoring Unit, 1 in 10,000 people in Uganda may be born missing a kidney due to congenital abnormalities whereas worldwide it is a ratio of 1 in 4500 cases globally, especially among boys.
He says that in May alone, two cases of people born with a single kidney were discovered. One is a 51year old lady found by the scan at Mubende Imaging Center and the other is a dead man whose post mortem revealed he was born with one kidney.
This comes at a time when there are several allegations and cases of illegal organ harvesting in the country and immigrant laborers in Arab countries. One of the prominent cases of unlawful organ transplant involves four Ugandan women whose organs were removed in Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Two of the victims including Milly Namazzi lost their lives after their kidneys were removed. Namazzi was contracted to work in Saudi Arabia but was trafficked to Egypt from where her kidneys were allegedly removed.
Judith Nakintu, another Ugandan was brought back to Uganda in a dire state with a missing kidney. In February this year, the government constituted a joint team of investigators from various security agencies, and immigration to probe the increasing claims of illegal organ harvesting.