Patients, who don’t make it to Moroto Regional Referral Hospital by midday, return home without treatment because the Outpatient department operates half day, URN reports.
Our reporter spent two days at the Hospital and observed that majority of the medics start work past 9:00am and leave by 2:00pm depending on the number of patients available.
Patients start lining up for treatment as soon as the OPD is opened at 7:00am. Patients who come past midday are bounced or ignored by staff.
Maria Ngorok trekked over 50 kilometers from Lotome in Napak district to Moroto Regional Referral Hospital with her husband and arrived at the hospital at 3:00pm on Tuesday.
However, they found the OPD closed leaving them with nowhere to turn for treatment. Ngorok noted that the journey to the hospital took them long since her husband was very ill, but they were disappointed to find the facility closed.
Phillip Longole, a patient from Iriiri Sub County in Napak district, approximately 100 kilometers away from Moroto, arrived at the Hospital just a few minutes past 4:00pm.
Longole, who traveled to the hospital by bus on Tuesday, lay helpless as there was no body to attend to him. He told URN with difficulty how he was desperate for the treatment.
By 6:00pm on Tuesday when URN left the hospital more than five patients including casualties lay unattended to at the casualty unit, the only unit left open in the OPD.
Other patients sought to join the wards that appear to have staff working throughout but those with limited knowledge on how the hospital works end up going back home or resort to clinics if they can afford.
Dr. Alfred Francis Ogwang, the Director Moroto Regional Referral Hospital acknowledges the challenge but attributes it to low staffing. He said the few staff at the OPD work for only one shift while emergency cases are rushed to the wards.
But Christine Alupo, a patient found in one of the clinics says the medics employed by the hospital spend most of their time in their businesses especially running private clinics.
Moroto Regional Referral Hospital serves the seven districts of Karamoja and neighboring communities from Teso and Kenya among others.