THE TRUE STATE OF THE NATION, PART 2 OF 5
THE SICKLY HEALTH SERVICES IN UGANDA
The state of health services in Uganda is in such a sorry state that, it is the most troubling issue, on the minds of most of our citizens, as those in power use taxpayers' money to seek medical attention in western countries, Dubai, India and South Africa.
The total number of government hospitals in Uganda is 81. Of these 2 are National Referral Hospitals (Mulago and Butabika), 14 are Regional Referral Hospitals, and 65 are General Hospitals.
These 81 facilities are supposed to provide; preventive, promotive outpatient curative, maternity, inpatient, emergency surgery and blood transfusion and laboratory services. And the health sector has been receiving an average annual budget of 1.2tn shillings, which was increased in the current budget to 1,8tn, and this is expected to be enough to provide those services that are mentioned above.
The unfortunate part is that it has been established, that there is no single hospital, not even the national referral hospitals, that follow the set up routine of providing these namely: preventive, promotive, outpatient curative, maternity, inpatient, emergency surgery, blood transfusion and laboratory services. There is chronic shortage of qualified personnel in the different areas where these medical services are of offered, and this largely because of the low salaries, and even these very salaries taking months without being paid, putting the medical personnel in very awkward situation, and tempting them to sink low morally and start demanding bribes from patients, before giving them medical attention. This has led to unnecessary deaths especially of emergency patients and expectant mothers.
By the end of January 2017, 0nly 11 hospitals out of the 81 had running water and 9 hospitals had their power supply cut off for lack of payment, and patients were being attended at night using mobile telephone light. Machines that need power to function were gathering dust, as patients were sent home without, getting the necessary attention like blood tests and x-ray investigation, which leads most to silent deaths that nobody ever connect to that state of affairs that denied them the right medical attention.
Each one of these hospitals was allocated an ambulance, and by the end of January 2017, only ambulances at 21 hospitals were operating, with the rest broken down and abandoned in the hospital compounds, and even those still working do so at very minimum level, due to lack of funds for fuel. The population in those districts have to improvise other means including boda bodas, to transport their seriously sick relatives to the hospitals. The regime appoints its cronies through patronage, so these mismanage and misappropriate the funds meant for the maintenance of these facilities, and just like the global fund and GAVI, the culprits are left untouched to continue killing our most crucial sector.
There is rampant congestion in hospitals and in fact it said that over 30 percent of the patients, catch new diseases from their time in the hospitals, due to the nature of congestion and filthy conditions found across the hospitals in the country. There is no planning on behalf of the regime and the beddings and other toiletries in hospitals are either lacking, or poorly catered for, causing new infections and endangering the very patients who come to look for treatment. There is acute lack of medicines, and even for patients who are in admission, who are told to go and buy medicines and other medical articles, from pharmacies outside the hospital. Out of the 81 hospitals, only 9 had fully functioning x-ray facilities by the end of January 2017, and the rest were either broken down or lacking the basic materials, that are used to get the images. The only thing that was functioning in over two thirds of the hospitals were laboratory machines for blood test.
It was also established that, the country has no functioning emergency services, not even those imbedded with police are functioning. This has led to the massive loss of lives of people who are involved in road accidents and whose injuries would not cause their death, if emergency services were there in time, to conduct first aid on them. In almost every major accident, it is the local people who have no medical knowledge who take the burden of helping accident victims, and even the police always arrive hours after these accidents. According to Red Cross, over 75 percent of the people who die in these accidents, would survive if the emergency services were functioning.
IN PART 5, I WILL SUGGEST A SOLUTION TO THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS.