Itojo Hospital, where services are perpetually hard to get
Posted Saturday, March 2 2013 at 02:00
The hospital is facing a shortage of health workers, congestion, shortage of toilets and the water system broke down.
It is Wednesday, February 20 afternoon, patients and their helpers walk lazily through the gate to and from Itojo Hospital, the major health facility in Ntungamo District.
Their faces show disappointment and thoughtfulness as those going out are not any better off than those entering this serene and expansive establishment.
An ambulance, a double cabin pick-up truck with its tyres branded ‘Itojo Hospital’, is grounded and rotting in the compound with grass covering its lower part, a perfect embodiment of the state of affairs at the hospital.
At the administration block, a plain clothed guard is seated at the waiting bench with two ladies.
“No one is inside; they have not been here since morning. Maybe they are in meetings. We don’t have hope they will be around today,” the guard says when I move to knock at the door of one of the administrator’s office.
Indeed all the doors are locked. Office secretary, hospital administrator, medical superintendent and principal nursing officer are all out.
All wards are crammed with patients, spillovers sleeping on the floors. Some of the beds available are broken down with some stacked and piled in corners of the wards.
One nurse is in the maternity ward attending to 45 patients, some wailing for help. “We are only two here, we get tired. My colleague has gone out to have lunch. They are so many patients and we can’t go for lunch at ago,” she says.
Out of the 45 in the ward, only 29 patients are on beds, the rest have made their beds on the floor.
Dr Sezalio Masembe was acting medical superintendent and has since resigned the assignment. He resigned early February this year citing personal reasons. He said the non-functioning lower health units are bringing the numbers up at the hospital yet the hospital has its own problems.
The hospital admits more than 70 patients daily and 200 out-patients. Ntungamo Chief Administrative Officer Musa Onzu says the problem of the hospital is not inadequate medical workers.
“If there are issues, there are about management because we do not have a medical superintendent. We have some doctors,” he says.
The hospital has no substantive hospital administrator; the Community Development Officer, Ms Rossete Kiconco, has been appointed to serve in the position while the District Health Officer, Dr Bernard Bakamuturaki, acts as the medical superintendent following resignation of Dr Masembe.
“The problem here is politics, they will all fear to mention it. No medical worker has come here and spent a month without being followed up by security people,” Mr Denis Muhumuza, the Itojo sub- county councillor, says.
“Everything they do they do it in fear. When they are operating on a person they fear he may be an intelligence person, this is why everything is in mess. We need the doctors who do their work independently.”
Sources say there are people always reporting to State House officials any medical operation that goes wrong or misuse of equipment and funds that are sent to the hospital.
The hospital has since 2006 failed to have a medical superintendent following the suspension of the pay clinic, Grade A- that had been established by the district council.
At one time six medical doctors resigned citing pressure from powerful people who are said to have worked against the establishment of the pay clinic.