Masaka regional referral hospital in deep crisis due to drug shortage

Persistent power outage and breakdown of equipment have plunged Masaka regional referral hospital into a crisis.

The hospital records at least 2,000 patients daily from the eight districts including Rakai, Sembabule, Lyantonde, Lwengo, Bukomansimbi, Kalungu, Kalangala and Masaka district. Some of the patients come from as far as Tanzania.

The hospital is however lacks vital supplies to provide medical services. The hospital currently lacks vital drugs including IV fluids which are transfused to malaria patients and expecting mothers among others.

The X-ray machine remains closed as the hospital is yet to fulfil the conditions that led to its closure.  In June this year, the Uganda Atomic Energy Council (AEC-Uganda) ordered the closure of the X-Ray and Scan machine section of the hospital saying it was below the required standards. AEC-Uganda said at the time that the hospital lacked a radiation officer, a radiation safety committee and had no warning signs about the dangers of radiation.

The hospital has also been defaulting on operation license  fee of 1.5million shillings.

Ereazer Mugisha, the Masaka hospital Principal Administrator says they have petitioned Members of Parliament from Masaka district to help voice their concerns in Parliament. A copy of the petition has been given to MPs through Matthias Mpuuga of Masaka municipality.

Mugisha says the hospital is operating without an ambulance which has frustrated transportation of patients that need referral. He also says the blood bank is nolonger functioning because the equipment that is supposed to keep the blood safe is faulty.

According to Mugisha, all these problems have paralyzed medical services amid overwhelming numbers of patients that need it.

A URN reporter on Thursday found several patients stranded in the hospital corridors without drugs. Rehema Nandugga and Mariam Mpiima have children with sickle cell anaemia.

They tell URN that since their admission on Monday, they have not received any form treatment because the drugs are not available. They both fear the worst for their children.

Kanifa Nakatte, a resident of Bukomansimbi is also stuck in Masaka hospital after her son was diagnosed with congenital heart defect commonly known as a hole in the heart which affects the flow of blood. She says doctors advised her to look for 20 million shillings to fix the complication.

Nakatte, a subsistence farmer says she has has decided to camp at the hospital.

MPs Mathias Mpuuga of Masaka Municipality and Mary Babirye Kabanda, the district woman legislator say they have visited the hospital and came face to face with the challenges. They say they are going to present these concerns to the relevant authorities.

Mpuuga says some problems such as power outage are manageable. He says he will meet with the area UMEME Manager to ensure the hospital gets uninterrupted power supply.