Baby abductions fought in Uganda

When a new-born baby disappeared from a hospital in Uganda, a local organisation took the matter to court. The case has received much attention and has improved hospital practices and the safety of new-borns.

In Uganda, KIOS has supported a local NGO called the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), to take to court a case in which a new-born baby disappeared at the country’s largest hospital. When the mother, who was pregnant with twins, woke up from her anaesthesia, she was told that one of the children had died. A dead baby was shown to the mother, but a DNA test later revealed that the child was not hers. It is not unusual for new-borns to go missing from hospitals in Uganda. Poverty, corruption and weak legislation make the country a favourable target for human trafficking.

In its decision in 2017, the court ordered that the hospital must improve the safety of infants. The hospital was also ordered to pay the couple financial compensation and arrange psychological support.

As a result of CEHURD’s work, the hospital improved its safety practices. Now new-borns are registered and they receive a bracelet which connects the babies to their mother. The hospital created practices for registering deaths. They started to monitor the entering and exiting of hospital visitors and patients. These changes will help prevent the disappearance of new-borns in the future. CEHURD has also trained healthcare staff and the police and communicated about the issue, so the case may have an impact on the safety of new-borns and maternal health across the country.