Last week, the state minister for general duties, Sarah Opendi, caught two of Naguru Hospital workers extorting money from patients
A member of staff displays the polythene paper they use instead of surgical gloves
Drama ensured on Tuesday afternoon as medical workers of Naguru Hospital exchanged bitter words with Health Monitoring Unit officials from State House.
The officials had turned up at the facility to seek answers from the hospital following the arrest of some staff over bribery and extortion.
However, the staff turned defensive instead and blamed the Government for their poor working conditions at the hospital.
Brian Ochora, a nursing assistant, said lack of sundries such as surgical gloves has made their working conditions unbearable as they only improvise by using polythene paper to treat patients.
“We do not have surgical gloves. When we ask patients to buy them they quarrel,” Ochora said
Deo Oscar Wafula, the head of the tuberculosis diagnostic and treatment, said the hospital lacks masks and sputum mugs to treat tuberculosis (TB) patients.
Wafula also said the hospital ambulance has been grounded for the last six months.
He said they addressed the issues to the state minister of primary health care Dr. Joy Moriku Kaducu when she visited the hospital a few months ago, but nothing has been done yet.
Last week, state minister for general duties, Sarah Opendi, caught two of Naguru hospital workers; Christine Namanda, the nursing assistant and Andrew Kalula, who does laundry at the hospital red-handed extorting money from patients.
However, Bruhan Kasujja, the inventory manager at the hospital condemned the minister’s act of using Muslim attire to aid the arrest of the culprits.
“This will instil fear and suspicion in the health workers and our Muslim sisters and wives will be neglected thinking they are spying on them, Kasujja said.
In response, the director of Health Monitoring Unit at State House, Dr Jackson Ojera Abusu, said they should not use poor working conditions as an excuse for extortion and said the minister's action was right.
Dr John Wanyama, a senior consultant gynecologist/obstetrician at the hospital lamented about the congested wards.
He said the hospital has a 100-bed capacity, but admits about186 patients per day. “This means one bed is shared by two patients; as one sleeps on the bed the other is on the floor and others sleep on the stair cases,” he said.
In the maternity ward, women sleep and deliver on the floor. Those who are not due to deliver wander outside or in the corridors.
“The maternity ward has a bed capacity of 25, yet every 24 hours we assist between 25 to 30 mothers to deliver,” Dr Wanyama said.
In the month of August, a total of 794 delivered at the hospital and of these 178 were caesarean section cases.
Dr Wanyama says the hospital has only 10 midwives. This means one midwife attends to ten mothers. Yet, according to the health guidelines, a mother in labour should be attended by two midwives.
Medicines supplies stock-out
He said the hospital is in constant shortage of medicines and essential supplies. The medical supplies are wiped out by the huge number of patients before the end of delivery cycle.
The China–Uganda Friendship Naguru Hospital was built in 2012. Every month the hospital admits 14,000 patients and the out-patient department treats 13,000 patients.