EDITOR â€” The death of Sylvia Nalubowa from purported negligence of health workers (The New Vision August 20) is an eye-opener to what is happening in health facilities in Uganda. On the evening of Sunday 19, July 2009, as I left office for Lira with my workmates, we encountered a car that was involved in an accident between Oyam and Lira districts.
A number of people had died, however, there were some survivors. We took four of them with fractures and serious injuries to Lira Hospital. But what I witnessed there was inhuman, to say the least! We reached the hospital at about 8:00pm, but there were no medical workers to attend to them. Announcements were placed on radio by one of the area MPs after we contacted him and two interns from the nursesâ€™ training school received the patients.
We checked on the patients the following morning before going to the field and found the doctor on duty had written a prescription, but they had not got treatment, not even an x-ray had been done. As we returned from the field, we went back to the hospital and found the patients still lying there in pain with no one to attend to them.
We asked to talk to the in-charge of the casualty ward, but could not find her. We wanted to find out how we could help. Eventually, we found an intern, but as he tried to explain, the in-charge came in and spoke to us rudely, ordering the intern not to talk to us. The in-charge told us to wait for the person who would be on night duty, yet it was already 8:00pm! We waited till around 9:00pm but no one came.
The next evening we returned to check on them only to find they had left. The casualties were part of a family that had been involved in the accident. Some of their colleagues had died, while others had been admitted to Atapara Mission Hospital, where a Good Samaritan reportedly took them.
Another case was in July 2007. My sister Ketty passed away in Kumi Hospital due to what I still believe was negligence by the health workers. On July 16, Ketty went to the hospital feeling labour pains. She was there till July 17, when she was told she was not due and discharged. But on July 19, she went back complaining of terrible pain. She was admitted until August 23, when she was taken to the theatre for operation, but the baby had died. Ketty also passed away shortly after. The discharge form and death certificates stated that she had died of prolonged labour.
The hospital also detained her body until we cleared the bill. We are now struggling to bring up Kettyâ€™s children.
There is need to investigate medical workers as well as the quality of services in health facilities. Many people have lost lives and others sustained permanent damage due to negligent workers.
There are some professional workers in some facilities, whose reputation is likely to be tanished by the negligent workers. The health ministry should weed out these rogues.
Apollo Ekelot, ChildFund International