Parliament has directed the Ministry of Health to explain the stagnation of health service delivery after several MPs' complaints over lack of drugs in hospitals.
By Henry Mukasa and Mary Karugaba
Parliament has directed the Ministry of Health to explain the stagnation of health service delivery after several MPs complained that hospitals in their constituencies lack drugs, patients lay-dying un-attended to and facilities are collapsing.
The matter came up for debate in an ironical way on Tuesday, as former State minister for health, Capt. Mike Mukula informed the House that he was greeted by "shock and awe" when he recently made a surprise visit to Soroti referral hospital.
"Pregnant mothers lay on the floor unattended to for close to a week. There was no water for seven days.
“Toilets were blocked and it was appalling to patients especially caesarean cases who cannot reach pit latrines," Mukula, the NRM vice chairman for Eastern region, narrated.
"Three to five babies are produced prematurely but the entire hospital has no generator. There is no power and in the theatre where operations are conducted, there are no oxygen concentrators," Mukula, who was minister in the sector until 2006 explained as MPs murmured.
Jalia Bintu (NRM) and Eng. Patrick Amuriat (FDC) observed that the despicable situation of Soroti hospital as painted by Mukula was just a tip of the rot in the health sector.
"I am surprised that he is complaining about absence of water for a week. We have hospitals in Kiryandongo, Masindi and Hoima that have not had water for years. Each year we talk about it and nothing is done," Bintu, the Masindi Woman MP stated.
On his part, Kumi MP Amuriat said complaints echo from across the country about the stagnation in health service delivery.
"There is acute shortage of drugs in hospitals, be it in Soroti, Tororo, or even Mulago national referral hospital yet government has failed to take action," Amuriat stressed.
Emmanuel Dombo (NRM) wondered why whenever the ruling party calls caucus meetings they "discuss individuals yet there are so many burning national issues.
He also took a swipe at Mukula saying "ministers who fail to deliver at the front bench raise such issues when they are sacked and return to the back benches of the House."
Medard Bitekyerezo (NRM) said Mbarara and Kabale hospitals lack Tuberculosis (TB) drugs which could lead to a strain of drug resistant TB.
Wamanga Wamai pointed out that Mbale is grappling with cholera.
The deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah tasked the minister of health to bring to Parliament and across the country an explanation on the inadequate health services.
In response health State minister, Richard Nduhura said "the situation is not as bad as its being promised."
He however promised a comprehensive statement explaining what the ministry is doing to alleviate the situation.
MPs decry shocking hospital conditions