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Luweero clinical officer to miss salary over abortion

Sam Magoda Ekeu, a clinical officer accused of procuring an abortion is to be struck off the payroll, the District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Joseph Okware has ordered.

Ekeu has reportedly been absent from his duty station, Luweero Health Centre IV since August 16.

On the basis of this, Luweero DHO Okware has written to the office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) asking him to strike Ekeu off the list of civil servants to be paid salary for the month of September.

Ekeu reportedly disappeared after investigations into reports that he aided a primary seven pupil of St Joseph Bukomba primary school to procure an abortion.

The girl was allegedly defiled by her head teacher James Ssekitto and class-teacher Ambrose Okwi. The two subsequently sponsored her abortion, a procedure that was mismanaged resulting into complications.

For weeks, the victim was admitted at Luweero Health Centre IV where she was receiving treatment for post-abortion sepsis. Ssekito was later arrested and remanded to Butuntumula prison while Okwi is on the run.

Luweero district deputy CAO Christopher Oketayot acknowledged receipt of the DHO’s letter. He says the district will withhold the Ekeu’s salary until he explains the reasons for his absence or surrenders to the police to defend himself.

He adds that the action is in line with Public Service Standing Orders which give powers to the CAO to impose sanctions on officers who abscond or absent themselves from duty. He also risks indictment once charged with a criminal offense.

Abortion is restricted in Uganda and only permissible if performed by a doctor who believes that the pregnancy places the woman's life at risk. Section 141 of the Penal Code Act provides for a 14-year prison sentence for anyone found guilty of procuring an abortion.

According to figures from ministry of Health, 1,500 women of child-bearing age die every year due to abortion-related complications.  The ministry spends up to Shs 38bn annually on post-abortion care.

Meanwhile, Dr Okware has also warned Dr Bruce Duncan Makubuya of Luweero Health Center IV against absenteeism and unethical behaviour towards patients.

He also tasked Dr Innocent Nkonwa, the in-charge of Luweero HCIV to discipline midwives and nurses who absent themselves from duty.

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