St Mary’s Hospital Lacor will require atleast Shs 2.4 billion to buy and install a computerised tomography scan (CT scan), Archbishop John Baptist Odama said on Wednesday.
The initiative is in a bid to improve specialised healthcare services in the sub-region.
A CT scan machine uses computers and rotating X-ray machines to create cross-sectional images of the body. These images provide more detailed information for easier diagnosis than normal X-ray images.
While launching the fundraising drive, Bishop Odama, who is also the chairperson for the drive, said the demand for the machine in the region necessitated the fundraising.
“The cost for a patient to access CT scan services in Kampala is quite straining and many patients have died as the result, so we need it here. Whether Shs50, 100, 200, 500, anything God has given you, lets pull it together to save the lives of our brothers and sisters who die every day because of the absence of specialised services,” Archbishop Odama said.
“The cost of hiring an ambulance loaded with return fuel and support nurse is between Shs900,000 to Shs1m per patient minus the actual fee charged for the services at the hospitals they are taken to, why don’t we have it here in the region to save our poor population,” the prelate added.
“For every 100 patients requiring CT scan in the hospitals in the greater north, only 30 can afford to get money while 70 die without diagnosis and monitoring unless the Almighty God makes miracles,” he added.
The entire northern Uganda does not have any CT scan machine except at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Uganda Cancer Institute, Kiruddu General Referral Hospital, and Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.
St Mary’s Hospital Lacor Executive Director Cyprian Opira told Daily Monitor in an interview that the absence of the machine at the hospital has always denied them an opportunity to offer specialised health services.
“Besides diseases such as cancer, we get overwhelming traffic accident cases that requires scanning for quicker diagnosis by doctors and every time we refer patients to Kampala,” Dr Opira said.
Mr Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Gulu District chairperson, criticised government for ignoring the region by failing to provide key health equipment and services.
“By citizens fundraising for what government should have provided for them is already a vote of no confidence in them (government). Facilities such as Lacor and Gulu referral hospitals serve patients from the entire northern Uganda, DRC and South Sudan and deserve such machines like other regions,” Mr Ojara said.
Lacor and Gulu referral hospitals receive eight patients every day who require scanning.
The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, told Daily Monitor that the government has placed order for 14 regional CT scan machines to be procured and sent to various regions
“We are aware of the problem and government has ordered for them and not only CT scan but also X-ray machines and upgrading all hospital intensive care units with monitors,” Dr Aceng said.