By Frank Kamuntu
The current situation at Jinja Referral Hospital, which provides medical services to several districts in Busoga sub-region, is worrying both patients and medics there.
on top of inadequate medicines and medical equipment, the hospital lacks an operational theatre to handle labour cases, hence medics have pleaded with government to expeditiously set up one.
The call for government to provide an independent operational theatre to save the lives of pregnant women referred to the facility was made by Agirie Aligawesa Lubega, the Acting Assistant Commissioner Nursing at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital.
Aligawesa made the call on August 16th, during the visit of the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Executive Director Allen Kagina, who had gone to commission an outpatient pharmacy shade.
Kagina also visited the maternity wards and donated assorted items for newborn babies and mothers, which included washing detergents, pampers, porridge flour and sugar. She said while the public only knows UNRA’s work as that of constructing roads, the organisation also cares about the health of the patients in the hospitals.
Aligawesa said“We have come to Jinja hospital to commission an outpatient pharmacy shade for patients waiting to be served drugs so that they do not have to wait in under the sun.”
She added that “Pregnant women end up dying before operation due to the small theatre the hospital has and the long line of patients waiting to be operated on.”
She added that “We have a challenge of attending to expectant mothers who are referred here for special attention like those who are to undergo an operation to have their babies delivered safely because currently, the theatre cannot accommodate more than three patients at ago for operation, yet it is the only theatre used in the whole of Busoga.”
She noted that according to the available statistics, Jinja Hospital handles 20-50 deliveries daily including those who undergo cesarean section, but currently the number of deliveries has increased from 5,000 in 2017 to 7,000 in 2018, which often beings about a long queue at the theatre.
Basing on the statistics the hospital had 20,000 admissions and 4,000 surgeries in the last financial year. However, information about the number of women who died due to failure to be operated upon in time was not availed.
Emmanuel Kelebende, 35, who accompanied his wife to give birth at the facility said they were referred from Bugiri hospital to Jinja but they found many patients lining outside the theatre;
“My wife had failed to push and had to wait for about two days because there were other patients also waiting to be operated on; doctors and nurses are available but the theatre is small,” he said.
Christine Naigaga, who had accompanied her pregnant sister said another problem they face is that some women book doctors at the private wing and they tend to be given more attention than those in the general ward.
The director of Jinja Referral Hospital, Dr Edward Nkurunziza said the facility is faced with lack of space in all departments and that the available buildings are old and need revamping.