A bushy compound, stinking sewage and a non-functional ambulance which has been grounded for more than five years is the state that welcomes one to Bundibugyo Hospital.
The hospital, established in 1969, is in appalling state as most of its systems are non-functional.
In the wards, the roofs leak, the pit-latrines are full and sewage bursts occur daily. The wards are congested as other patients lie on the ground waiting for treatment.
Ms Jane Byamukama, an anesthetist, said the theatre has not been carrying out major surgeries for three months because most of the equipment is broken down.
An autoclave, a machine used for sterilisation, got spoilt three months ago and the hospital administration has failed to raise money to repair it.
“The autoclave got spoilt three months back, we cannot carry on any sterilisation, so we refer patients to Fort Portal Referral Hospital (79 kilometres away) in case of major surgeries,” Ms Byamukama said.
She adds: “The hospital has no fuel to take the instruments to Fort Portal. They are packed in a box waiting to be taken anytime. The government should give us a new autoclave because this one keeps breaking down.”
The operating table is almost breaking as rusty metal peels off.
Ms Byamukama fears that the next patient who goes on for an operation might break it and die. The table has been in this state for more than four years.
“We are now forced to refer to health centre IV’s and Fort Portal Regional Hospital. The most affected people are pregnant mothers because they cannot deliver from here,” Ms Byamukama said.
The district chairperson, Mr Jolly Tibemanya, challenged government to support the hospital for it is in dire need of face lift.
“It is 50 years and the systems have never been worked on. The autoclave was that of 1969. We urgently need a new one, we cannot wait anymore to see our mothers dying from here,” Mr Tibemanya said.
He said the hospital has failed to raise local revenue to maintain the compound, fuel and sanitation due to lack of a private wing.
“We do not have a private wing, therefore it is not easy to raise local revenue to do all the work,” Mr Tibemanya said.
The acting senior hospital administrator, Mr Edmond Maisaba Manzi, said the hospital needs more funding to operate normally.
“The hospital is receiving meager funds, we used to get Shs60m quarterly but we are now getting about Shs20 million. This is inadequate to keep us moving smoothly,” Mr Manzi said.
Bundibugyo hospital has one functional ambulance which also works as the official car of the hospital administrator.
“When an official goes with it to Kampala, the patients suffer. We do not want it this way but that is how things are,” Mr Manzi said.