Mbale Regional Referral Hospital is turning away patients in need of X-ray services following the breakdown of one of the two x-ray machines at the facility, lack of chemicals and films.
The hospital has not been able to provide X-ray services since September last year.
More than 50 patients turn up daily for X-ray services at the hospital but are turned away or referred to private clinics where they are charged exorbitant sums.
A senior staff in the X-ray unit who declined to be named for fear of being victimized said that the hospital has been struggling with the intermittent supply of x-ray films, chemical and administrative challenges.
He says the X-ray unit has been under key lock since September last year due to lack of the film processing chemical and a fault on the processor of one of the machines.
He blames the delay to rectify the problem on sluggishness by the hospital administrators who he claims are not bothered.
He claims the fault on the processor can easily be rectified and only needs about an hour to correct adding that, the film processing chemical costs between Ugx100, 000 and 150, 000.
He says one tin can process more than 50 films. Hussein Mabonga, a resident of Mbale town who is attending to his brother at the hospital is dissatisfied with the inadequate services offered at the X-ray unit.
He claims that the Hospital only provides ultra sound services at the X-ray unit.
Mabonga said that when he brought his brother to the hospital with a broken leg, he was turned away and advised to seek x-ray services from private clinics and return for treatment.
He claims that he has so far spent 150, 000 shillings at a private clinic in town to carry out three x-rays on his brother’s leg.
According to Mabonga, x-ray services are meant to be free of charge in government hospitals. He wants government to intervene to rectify the problem.
Dr. Ben Wanume, the director Mbale Regional Referral Hospital acknowledges the crisis at the X-ray unit. He however, claims the machine broke down towards the festive period when all the technicians had gone on leave. Ben Wanume says currently they have no option but to refer patients to private clinics.
He downplays the crisis saying it will soon be corrected. Mbale Regional Referral Hospital handles patients from 14 districts.
They include Mbale, Sironko, Manafwa, Bududa, Pallisa, Budaka, Busia, Bukedea amongst others. It is also a teaching hospital for Clinical Officers and there are plans to upgrade it into a University for training medical officers and graduate nurses.