Nurse beaten to pulp by patients for reporting to duty drunk

Robert Turyamuijuka, an enrolled nurse at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital is nursing injuries he sustained in an attack by patient attendants. The angry attendants assaulted on Saturday night after he allegedly refused to attend to their patients.

It all started when a primary seven pupil of Moroto KDA School was rushed to the hospital in critical condition after collapsing in the dormitory. Loyce Ikwalingat, a teacher in charge girls at KDA, says on arrival the nurse barked at them instead of attending to the girl.

Ikwalingat says that although the nurse attended their patient, he became intolerant when the relatives of the patient arrived. She notes the nurse was provocative and was repeatedly asking similar questions without paying attention to the response since he appeared intoxicated with alcohol.

Amina Mashaka, the mother of the girl says immediately she arrived at the hospital, the nurse started inquiring into the medical history of the girl. She notes that when she told the nurse that the girl had been diagnosed with peptic ulcers, he demanded for the medical forms and turned violent.

But Robert Turyamuijuka, the implicated nurse denies he was drunk while administering treatment to patients, saying he wouldn’t have managed to save the patient if he was indeed drunk. The nurse claims that the attendants are raising the issue of drunkenness to defend their barbaric acts.

Joyce Namuli, the Acting Senior Principle Nursing Officer, says they are investigating the matter and will communicate the findings after hearing from all the parties. She notes that if her staff indeed messed up as alleged, he will be put under disciplinary action.

She appeals for tolerance from both health workers and the community.  Some patients who spoke on condition of anonymity blame the nurse for being rude to patients. They claim that by the time of the pupil was rushed to the hospital, two patients including a casualty and four year child had spent hours unattended to since the nurse refused to treat them.





Moroto hospital staff ignore patients, OPD opens half day

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.




HIV patients abandon medication due to prevailing hunger

The biting hunger situation in Karamoja has forced persons living with HIV to abandon their medication. The hunger was triggered by the prolonged dry spell, which affected crops gardens for the last two seasons.

Some of the people living with HIV in Moroto told URN that much as anti-retroviral drugs -ARVs have been helpful in boosting their immune system and enabled most of them to live longer; they now skip medication because of hunger.

Madinah Adong, one of the persons living with HIV says the food crisis has forced most of them out of the hospital since they feel getting drugs without food in the house is dangerous to their health. She notes that a number of them are breastfeeding mothers on treatment.

Adong asks government to intervene before all the efforts to save persons living with HIV go to waste due to hunger.

Christine Ajilong, the Chairperson of persons living with HIV in Kaabong, says more than 210 people have refused to take drugs due to hunger. She notes that the families of persons living with HIV are in dire need of food.

Ajilong says more than half of the of the 1200 people living with HIV in Kaabong are facing a severe food crisis.  Dr. Dennis Esayu, the in charge Anti-retroviral Treatment- ART Clinic at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital acknowledges that the food situation has affected drug adherence among his clients.

He notes that most of the clients who visit the ART Clinic complain of hunger and don’t return for drugs. Dr. Esayu notes that food is highly recommended for persons on medication as some clients register complications when they take drugs on empty stomachs. He says some clients develop side effects like diarrhea, vomiting and nightmares in the short term when they don’t eat something before taking drugs while cases of anaemia among others are recorded in the long run.

”We have heard cases of clients resorting to alcohol [kwete] when they want to take medicine and this is not good for their health” Dr. Esayu noted. Kotido District LC V Chairperson, Ambrose Lotuke says the issue of persons living with HIV skipping medications has overwhelmed his desk and every meeting he attends at the district.

”Unless the situation is addressed, we’re going to lose more people especially HIV clients to hunger. The drugs these people take are very strong and require something in the stomach to keep them moving” Lotuke said in a phone interview.

He adds that the most affected in his district are communities in the rural areas as they are hit by high poverty levels. The HIV prevalence in Karamoja stands at 5.3 percent. Government last delivered food to the region in early February this year.




Health officials monitoring twenty patients after presenting birdflu signs

By Charles Kizindo Lule
Twenty patients in Bussi and Butembe islands on Lake Victoria are being monitored by health specialists after presenting symptoms of the deadly bird flu.
 The ministry of health has picked samples from them and taken to Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe for further investigations.
Bird flu was confirmed in Uganda this week following a mass death of birds at Lutembe beach in Entebbe, and ducks in Masaka.