By Beatrice Nyangoma
Adjumani General hospital structures have developed cracks causing worry that it may collapse on patients. The cracks started with the Out patients structure in 2012 that was last year rebuilt, according to Michael Ojja, the hospital administrator.
Ojja says that the cracks have developed in the rest of the hospital walls and some of the wards have now been corded off because they may fall any time.
“We are afraid that the hospital walls may fall on to the patients any time. We have now decided that some of the wards be vacated for the safety of the patients.” he said
He however notes that the Ministry of Health and the district leaders have not supported the hospital to get funds such that renovation works can be done despite a warning report on the state of the hospital.
In January 2014 a joint team from the Ministry of Health and the Belgian Technical Cooperation declared parts of Adjumani hospital “unfit for harbouring human beings”.
According to Ojja, by the time the assessment was made three years ago, structures which had cracks on the walls included the out-patient department, the hospital boardroom and maternity ward. He however notes that the cracking has now included the patients’ wards.
A preliminary report showed that the soil texture cannot carry the weight of the structure, and that there was a problem with the design. The team recommended that the affected parts of the structure be demolished before general renovation takes place.
The hospital was constructed for the 232,813 people of Adjumani in 1997. However, according to Ojja the hospital now receives additional population of refugees of 217,000 meaning the facility is recording almost of the population planned for.
Statistics from the hospital show that in the 2015_20016 financial year, Adjumani hospital received at least 67,361 patients at the out-patient department, conducted 1,887 deliveries and admitted 10,937 patients.
Ojja however notes despite the sky rocketing number of patients, the hospital budget has been cut to almost a half. “This hospital was constructed with a bed capacity of 100 patients but we are operating on a 200 bed capacity meaning that half of the admitted patients actually sleep on the floor. Between 1997 and 2001, we used to receive over 200 million Shillings every financial year but this has reduced to less than 130 million Shillings.” he said
He adds that the hospitals only source of local financing which is the private wing has also been frustrated by local politicians who opposed to charging patients.
“The local politicians have failed our efforts to complement on the government funding. They stopped us from charging patients in the private wing claiming that this is a public facility and therefore services must remain free of charge.” he added
He says that the hospital received 2 billion shillings from the government that saw the outpatient structure reconstructed adding that the hospital now requires over 10 billion shillings for general reconstruction.
Dr. Sarah Byakika the commissioner for planning at ministry of health on the sidelines of the African Regional Meeting during the Harmonisation for Patient-Centred Universal Health Coverage meeting in Entebbe, Uganda on the 5th of July 10, 2017 said that the government has not yet got funds for the reconstruction of the hospital.
“The ministry of health is aware of the Adjumani hospital needs but we have not yet got funding. We have however renovated some other hospitals that fall in the category of Adjumani hospital.” she said
Dr. Mugagga Kaggwa, a medical Officer with World Health Organization with specialization in Health Management during the says that the government should focus on strengthening the infrastructure in order to achieve a patient centred health care.
“WHO is now focusing on health care that is patient centered and Uganda cannot achieve this if we undermine the quality of the health facilities that house the patients. The state of the health facilities contributes a lot to the psychological state of patients.” he said