Student left with Sh9 million hospital debt after father's death

Monday August 08 2022
Lightness Shirima

Lightness Shirima

By Janeth Joseph

Rombo. A student at the Local Government Training Institute (LGTI) in Dodoma, Lightness Shirima is facing a huge debt after a Sh9 million hospital bill was left at the Muhimbili National referral hospital Mloganzila where her late father was receiving treatment.

According to Lightness ,22, she had to leave her national identification card as collateral at the hospital due to the millions in debt accrued while her father, Priscus Shirima was receiving treatment.
The late Shirima, who died on July 4, was hospitalised in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for 40 days, leading to the a Sh9 million hospital bill, which after his death was transferred to his family, with his daughter, Lightness having to carry the burden.

According to the alleged agreement between Mloganzila Hospital and the college student Lightness, it is believed that the two parties agreed to a monthly installment payment of Sh50, 000 and the hospital holding Lightness' national ID (NIDA) as collateral until she clears the debt.
It is also said that those terms enabled Lightness to be given her father's body by the hospital after his death in order to proceed with burial arrangements.

"I don't know if I will proceed with my study or I have go to find money to pay the hospital expenses. I know the situation I am in is very difficult, I don't know how I will live because we have been left orphans and our relatives are not able to help us," said Lightness.

Speaking to the reporter, Lightness said their father suffered from hypertension that led to vision loss and caused him a stroke.

She said she cannot pay her father's debt in the hospital because she is still a student, asking the government to forfeit the debt because  she doesn't have the means to pay it.

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The hospital authority admitted to demanding the family of the deceased Sh9 million for the 40 days Mr Shirima  received treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Mloganzila Public Relations officer Neema Mwangomo, said the patient stayed in the ICU for a month and about 10 days, that's why the costs went up, but the office has a procedure if a person is unable to pay, there are procedures one should follow in order to reduce the cost or be forgiven.

Speaking on why the hospital is holding Lightness’s national ID, Ms Mwangomo said it was collateral until she clears the debt.

"If it happens that the relatives cannot pay for the hospital expenses and one of them has national ID, they can leave it as collateral and are given the body for burial. The hospital has its own procedure because what we look at first is humanity," she said.

She added: If the family is stuck, they can come to the office, doors are open. If there is anything, she should come back and tell us to see what we can do about the matter, but it is true that the family owes the hospital Sh9 million.