Residents from the Districts which make up Sebei region have expressed worry over the state of the only government aided health facility, Kapchorwa General Hospital, in the area.
This hospital, which serves people from districts like Bukwo, Kapchorwa, Kweni, Sironko Bukambuli and some parts of Karamoja, is overwhelmed by the surging numbers of patients it received daily.
According to the hospital report, the facility handles a number of patients that triple what it was planned to serve, during its establishment.
This starts from the beds , ward sizes as well as staffing level which has greatly affected efficiency in service delivery and general hygiene of the facility.
This, locals say, has greatly affected the quality and quantity of service the facility offers.
“Congestion in the maternity section is too much, the space is not enough to cater for all expectant mothers and those that have given birth. The Post natal ward has only 15 beds just like the medical ward, which is way below the number of patients admitted day,” Evelyn Chelengat an Accountability Champion for Kapchorwa district said.
She added that due to the increase in population, the health workers improvise and put some patients on mats in the floor and reserve the beds for those under critical condition.
“The labor ward suits three beds, not modern beds… yet the the facility can have 5 women giving birth at ago. Over 30 mothers are taken care of on a daily basis and among these, more than 5 mothers can give birth at ago,” Chelengat said.
She added, “The staffing level is very low. Sometimes the maternity section has only 2 midwives on duty, taking care of all patients in the section; conducting deliveries and other related roles.”
Chelengat Evelyn one of the Accountability Champions in Sebei region.
With the intervention of Accountability Champions (individuals who volunteer to monitor transparency and accountability), duty bearers like the district leadership and Ministry of Health officials have tasked to address these challenges at hospital.
Chelengat, a teacher by proffesion, committed herself to holding all leaders and stakeholders in the service delivery sector accountable to the people they serve other than conducting themselves as bosses.
“In our recent meeting with the Chief Adminstrative Officer (CAO) and heads of department, we shared a lot and now things are changing. Recently we got more beds into the maternity ward,” she revealed.
“Problem sharing led to the construction of a new Neo natal ward by the UPDF during their 41st Tarehesita Celebrations, which has bettered the situation.”
She also noted that in a bid to improve service delivery in the region, she is engaging in sensitization campaigns both physical and through radio talk shows; informing people of their rights and how to hold their leaders accountable in the service delivery sector.
“Being that this hospital is helping people from more than 5 districts, we were promised that its going to be uplifted to the Regional Referral level but unfortunately this has not been achieved upto today,” Chelengat pointed out.
She added that after reporting several issues in the meeting which was attended by the Inspectorate General of Government (IGG) Hon Betty Kamya which was organized by Action Aid and partners, several issues like delayed road construction have been addressed.
The Neo Natal block which was donated to the hospital by UPDF.
Richard Bukone Ssajjabi, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Kapchorwa district, admitted the under staffing issue at this health facility but promised that they are doing the possible to have it addressed.
“Lack of enough health workers and support staff is a country wide issue because we as the district don’t recruit health workers but its done under the supervison of Ministry of Health,” Ssajjabi said.
He pointed out that the current budget which they were allocated doesn’t have enough funds to cater for the wages of additional health workers.
On the issue of poor hygiene conditions at the maternity section, Ssajjabi promised to closely follow up with the hospital administration to ensure that its addressed in the shortest time possible to save the vulnerable mothers from contracting infections.
In October 2020, the hospital was closed for two weeks after more than 20 medical workers tested positive of covi-19. These were treated and business returned to normal.
Kapchorwa General Hospital was established in 1962 to address the health needs of the people in the area (less populated then), however, as a result of rapid population growth, the facility is no longer enough to serve the current population’s needs.
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