The condition at Muyembe hospital in Bulambuli district is appalling. Muyembe hospital operates in dilapidated structures, lacks a stand by generator and descent accommodation for both patients and medical workers.
On average Muyembe hospital receives between 85 -100 patients each day. It serves patients from Sironko, Kween, Bulambuli, Kapchorwa and Bukwo districts among others. Annet Wanyenye, the in charge of the maternity ward says during power outages the hospital is covered in absolute darkness.
She says the staff quarters are also in a very sorry state, which has forced several health workers to abandon the quarters in search of better alternatives. Recently 12 health workers fled from the hospital citing lack of accommodation and none payment of their salaries for more than eight months. Wanyanye says the remaining health workers are overwhelmed with work which has now compromised the quality of the services and their performances.
A midwife who declined to be named because she is not authorized to talk to the press said that even the generator that was bought to power the health center in case of emergencies stopped functioning due to lack of fuel. She says previously, the hospital management used to collect money from patients to fuel the generators but the arrangement was resisted by patients. As a result, expectant mothers are helped to deliver using mobile phone torches provided by the midwives.
Milton Wakisamba, a patient admitted at the Health Center says the senior medical workers take advantage of the staff accommodation problem to abscond from work. He says that since he was admitted at the health center last week, he has only been attended too twice. He says there are too many patients compared to number of health workers at the hospital. Wakisamba also accuses some of the health personnel of taking advantage of the situation to extort money from patients.
He asks government to intervene and recruit more staff at the hospital to save the situation.
An expectant mother found in the labor suit claims that because of lack of stable power supply, the hospital management asks patients to carry lamps. A health official who declined to be named for fear of being reprimanded because he is not authorized to speak to journalists said that the theatre has been closed because of lack of equipments.
Dr. Gidale Mwiri, the Bulambuli District Health Officer has confirmed the closure of the theatre over lack of equipment and operating in dilapidated structures. He says they expect to re-open the theatre next year once it is rehabilitated. Currently all patients in need of surgical services are referred to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.
Dr. Mwiri says he has repeatedly petitioned Bulambuli District Local Government and the Ministry of health to intervene and address the problems in vain. He says even the only ambulance they have has been grounded for more than six months because of lack of fuel. He also blames the compromised services at the hospital to shortage of staff. He says the hospital has failed to attract health workers adding that attempts to recruit more staff have not yielded any results.