Kabarole Health facility shelves equipment worth Ushs1.2Bn due to lack of space

Kibito Health Center IV in Kabarole District is stuck with medical equipment due to lack of space. The health centre specializes in provision of maternal health services.  Last month, American Foundation for Children with AIDS-AFCA in partnership with Baylor Uganda donated items to the facility under the maternal health project, “Saving Mothers, Giving Life”, which seeks to promote safe delivery.

The donated equipment is worth Shillings 1.2 Billion. The equipment includes more than 40 maternity beds, seven incubators, fridges and wheel chairs among others. However, the items are locked in the stores due to limited space. The facility has only one block, which houses the maternity and labor wards and the office of the in-charge.

When Uganda Radio Network visited the facility, the new beds and mattresses were piled in the office of the in-charge, while the incubators were still intact in the boxes. Dr. Robert Bijja, the in-charge Kibito Health center IV says that the maternity ward is small since it can only accommodate twenty beds. He explains that there is need to construct more buildings, where the equipment will be taken.

According to Bijja, the failure to utilize the equipment compels them to refer pregnant women to Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital or other facilities such as Rwimi and Kisomoro health centre III.

Bijja also says that there is no accommodation for the health workers who work at the facility. He explains that they trek long distances to the facility, which affects their work since they are forced to sometimes suspend night operations.

Nathan Ruhinda, the Kabarole District Health Officer says that there are plans to construct another maternity ward, a pediatric ward and general ward for patients suffering from different alignments. He however, says that since the district lacks adequate funds, they are seeking more support from Baylor.

Faith Kamuhanda, a resident of Kibito trading center says that she was turned away due to congestion in the maternity ward. She explains that she was forced to travel to Fort Portal referral hospital. Kamuhenda adds that coupled with the high transport costs to the hospital, she suffered complications during delivery because of the long distance.

The Saving Mothers Giving Life campaign was introduced in Kabarole in 2011 with the aim of accelerating the reduction of avoidable maternal deaths by 50%. Under the project, health facilities are renovated and given medical equipment and health workers trained.