Compared to many hospitals in Uganda, Naguru hospital stands out when it comes to infrastructure, beauty and hygiene.
The facility is well maintained and its neat compound speaks volumes, although limited medical workers and thus, overcrowding may ruin the reputation of one of the best hospitals in the country.
Naguru General Hospital commonly known as China-Uganda Friendship Hospital Naguru, was built between 2009 and 2012 by the Government of China as a result of good diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The facility was set up purposely to decongest Mulago National Referral Hospital given the fact that the number of patients at the latter was soaring.
The pediatric and maternity wards are the busiest. The nurses on duty who preferred anonymity said the hospital receives over 500 out-patients daily. And indeed by 9am, long queues of patients seeking for medical services were seen in the waiting room.
The queue could hardly reduce given the fact that the medical personnel attending to patients were few and looked overstretched.
A man who had a sickly daughter was seen moving from door to door looking for a doctor but in vain.
“I was here by 6am for treatment but I have spent three hours in the line. You can see my daughter is badly off but they are saying no jumping the queue. I thought services were better here,” an irritated man said, calling a friend to send a vehicle to transfer the girl to another hospital.
Like is the case in other facilities, the issue of bribing medical workers at Naguru hospital is prevalent since the possibility of a patient meeting the medical personnel is low [due to high number of patients against few medical workers].
Recently, the hospital director, Dr Edward Nadumba emphasized that nobody is supposed to pay for the services at the hospital and posters are pinned on the hospital walls indicating the hospital’s stance against paying for medical services.
However, the patients Red Pepper spoke to complained that nurses continue to ask for money although the nurse we spoke to denied it (as expected!). A nurse who preferred anonymity complained of delayed salaries on top of being overworked.
Efforts to talk to Dr. Nadumba were futile as she couldn’t be reached by press time. Red Pepper couldn’t establish the number of medical workers the facilities has but can reliably reveal that they are not enough to meet the growing number of patients.
Also, drugs are not enough due to the high number of patients handled, with some patients advised to buy medicines from pharmacies outside.