Soroti Regional Referral Hospital has spent several months without testing reagents for Hepatitis.
A hospital official who spoke to local media on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media says the reagents got out of stock six month ago, leaving hundreds of patients stranded. He says patients in need of hepatitis testing are currently referred to private clinics. Hepatitis tests in most private clinics in Soroti town cost 10000 shillings, which many patients can’t afford.
On Friday last week, 19 students from Olila high school football team were bounced from Soroti regional referral hospital, when they went for Hepatitis testing. A medical officer there wrote on the forms of the students indicating that there were no facilities to be used for testing Hepatitis at the hospital. The students were instead referred for hepatitis testing to a private clinic. One of the students who says they had gone for test after one of their colleagues was diagnosed with Hepatitis.
He however, expressed disappointment when they were turned away because the hospital couldn’t carry out the test. Hepatitis is a highly contagious disease that can be transmitted from one person to another. It spreads through contaminated food or water as well as unsanitary conditions. Thomson Ebong, the principal administrator Soroti Regional Referral Hospital admitted the lack of the testing reagents. He said they are overwhelmed by the number of people turning up for the test.
Our reporter found at least seven patients at Soroti Regional hospital in need of Hepatitis testing. In the past Hepatitis B has claimed several lives in various districts in Northern Uganda. In 2011, Christine Ondoa, the then health minister told parliament close to 3 million people were infected with the deadly hepatitis B virus.