Makerere University Hospital is in a sorry state. The once glorified Makerere University Hospital operates in dilapidated structures, lacks reliable electricity and is poorly staffed. Originally, a 32 bed hospital serving both out-patients and inpatients including university staff, students and neighboring communities, the hospital has now reduced to 22 beds.
According to the University website, Makerere university hospital offers both curative and preventive services. The dental unit offers extraction, scaling, polishing and filling-in services for the teeth. There is also a new and modern X-ray unit which deals with all X-ray diagnosis. The Laboratory concerns itself with examining samples of blood, stool and Urine.
In addition, it also offers maternal Child-health and Family Planning Clinic deals with the immunization of children and students, dispenses vaccines and contraceptives, first aid during student strikes and university functions like graduations among others.
Dr. Margret Wandera, the Director Makerere University Hospital, says their biggest challenge is understaffing and inadequate resources. According to Wandera, because of its capacity the hospital is supposed to have 74 workers. However, currently there are 54 staffs with only 3 doctors, 2 clinical officers and two nurses only available at night.
The rest of the workers are cleaners, rendering the hospital short of skilled workers. “When I joined this hospital in September 2014 as the acting director, there are some things that I put on my top priority list like increasing staff, but up to today I have never achieved it because of the government ban on recruitment,” she said in an interview.
“We have three doctors, one physician, one radiologist, one public health doctor and two clinical officers who are on a six months contract. As a result, we have even elevated some of the cleaners who have upgraded to serve as book keepers,” she added. According to Wandera, due to staff shortage they have teamed up with other partners to provide some services. “We have partitioned some of the wards because of the few resources to run the hospital. We are partnering with some organisations for instance to provide Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) services,” said Dr. Wandera.
Adding that, “X-ray services are outsourced because we cannot afford the cost of maintaining some of the machines. And we don’t have staff to operate some of the units.” In the recent past, the hospital has registered declining performance with some services being stopped; it is more of a neglected section of the university.
Dr. Wandera says “The inpatient hospital services are restricted to students from Makerere University; this university hospital handles largely students. On a semester basis, we can handle between 700-900 patients.” “We offer services to different university units, but we are too stretched. That ambulance is my car. It’s what I use to monitor, deliver medicine to Jinja campus, Kabanyolo and main campus,” said Dr. Wandera.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Makerere University confirms the deplorable state of the hospital, saying their major problem is poor funding.
Prof. Nawangwe says they are hunting for partners to transform the hospital into a teaching hospital.
Every student pays Shillings 10,000 for the services at the hospital for their entire period of study. Dr. Wandera says the money is used for running costs of the hospital, which is insufficient. Students in other universities such Kyambogo pay Shillings 50,000 as medical contribution every semester.
Before 1972, the university maintained a health post known as Makerere University Students Health Service or Sick Bay at the current Makerere University Police Post. In 1972, when Idi Amin expelled Asians, the university acquired the premises formerly known as Nile Nursing Home.
The university Sick Bay relocated to the new premises. On 16 February 1978, President Idi Amin visited the Sick Bay and elevated it to a Hospital status. According to Makerere University Hospital Situation Report of 2015 conducted by the students’ guild, the hospital as of July 2015 was offering comprehensive health care to the students, staff and their families as well as the surrounding communities serving a population of about 60,000 people.
The hospital is located on Makerere hill road off Gadaffi road about 2 kilo meters southwest of Mulago National Referral Hospital.
By Robert Ssegawa.
Police in Kampala have killed a suspected thug alleged to be behind the killing and aggravated robberies in areas like Luweero, Kawempe, Nangabo, Makindye, Mukono and others areas.
According to the police spokesperson Fred Enanga, Corporal Tindimwebwa Kenneth was arrest in Nakasongola district with a gun but in a process of resisting he was short and later died in Mulago.
Upon investigation police have got incriminating evidence showing that he was the leader of a group that killed Nakawa Juliet in Mukono after robbing 7 million from her, it’s the same suspect who killed Sewaka Husein a police officer in Luweero and several others .
Police has discovered 688 rounds of a munitions, one AK47, 14 phones, airtime, and identity cards of some of people he has been killing.
In the same investigation, police has arrested Ibrahim Mbabaali a badaboda cyclist who has been offering him with transport and Nambi Marium who is the wife to the deceased to help in more investigations.
By Moses Kindandi
The Government has commenced the construction of six under ground bankers to house the Radiotherapy machines at Mulago cancer institute.
The construction of the bankers will cost government 25 billion Uganda shillings . Representing president Museveni at the ground breaking ceremony this afternoon at Mulago cancer institute the prime minister , Dr Ruhakana Rugunda told the gathering that the Government is doing all it takes to ensure that cancer patients get adequate medical treatment. Construction to works will be done by Roko construction and will last a period of twelve month.
Patients suffering from cancer may have to wait a little longer to get a new cobalt 60 radiation machine after officials revealed that government hopes to have a new one in a period of at least one year from now.
Cobalt therapy or cobalt-60 therapy is the medical use of gamma rays from cobalt-60 to treat conditions such as cancer. It offers radiation therapy, which kills or damages cancer cells. It is used in more than half of all cancers.
Uganda’s only radiotherapy machine purchased in 1995 broke down for the last one month and over 33,000 cancer patients have been left stranded with many lacking financial muscle to seek the services abroad.
The cancer unit gets an estimated 44,000 new referrals annually from Uganda and other neighboring countries including Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan and 75% of these need radiotherapy.
According to the executive director for Uganda Cancer Institute-UCI, Dr. Jackson Orem the process of constructing a bunker that is supposed to house the new radiotherapy machine has taken the institute more than two years.
He says that this is because of the complexities involved in building a bunker and regulations set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also known as Atoms For Peace an international agency that regulates the sell and purchase of all radiation or nuclear emitting equipment .
The new radiotherapy equipment was bought by IAEA on behalf of the government in 2013 and Uganda contributed 325, 297 euros while IAEA will cater for shipment, maintenance and train technicians who will operate it.
However, three years down the road, the machine could not be brought into Uganda because there is no bunker constructed to house it.
Dr. Orem says that after IAEA approving the soils on which the bunker will be built-a process that took two years, the institute is now in the process of identifying a company the is qualified to actually construct it. Already according to Orem, three companies have been shortlisted to do the job that is likely to take a minimum of 6 months if all resources are available and one year in case of delays.
However, according to the minister of health Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye the delay is already evident. He says that government is looking for over 30 billion shillings and so far the ministry has received only nine billion in the running financial and the 2016/2017 to build the bunker that is expected to house at least seven radiotherapy machines.
On a daily basis, the department receives about 100 cancer patients who need external exposure to radioactive waves to receive relief against cervical cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and others organ cancers.
According to Orem, Ugandans should not be alarmed by the breakdown of the machine as there are other alternative ways of treatment.
He said that the institute has since acquired the Brachytherapy, or internal radiotherapy machine, that is commonly used to treat cervical, prostate, bladder, and breast and skin cancer through the temporary or permanent placement of a short range radiation source close to the tumor inside the body, positioning the radioactive pellet through a technique known as after loading.
However, according to one of the senior radiographers who spoke to URN off the record said that this machine only works on cancers that are at their first stages and yet many patients present themselves at Mulago when the cancers are at the last stages.
He adds that the two machines are supposed to be working together especially in cancers that presents late.
He said that in such circumstances, a patient has no option but to seek radiotherapy services from other countries.
Dr. Kavuma Ausi a senior Medical physician at Mulago says that it is very dangerous for a patient to miss radiotherapy because this leads to treatment failures if this process is missed which shortens their lifespan and the end result is death.
He says that people who are most affected are those who have cancers of the throat and pancreas.