Hospitals are death traps, report says

Thursday February 7 2013

Ms Birgit Gerstenberg (L), the  representative of the UN Commission for Human rights, talks to Ms Annabel Ogwang-Okot (R), the country representative, at the launch of the report in Kampala.

Ms Birgit Gerstenberg (L), the representative of the UN Commission for Human rights, talks to Ms Annabel Ogwang-Okot (R), the country representative, at the launch of the report in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA. 

By Flavia Lanyero

KAMPALA

The sorry state of Uganda’s health care system has turned many government hospitals into death traps, a new report has revealed.

A study conducted by Human Rights Network (Hurinet) in four regional referral hospitals of Fort Portal, Masaka, Gulu and Soroti finds that staff capacity, health infrastructure, basic health equipment and health financing fall way below acceptable standards required for the facilities to operate.

The report titled, “The State of Regional Referral Hospitals in Uganda”, based its findings on interviewing hospital directors and administrators, medical workers, patients and their care givers.

At Soroti Hospital, for instance, the report found that it had a bed capacity of 267 and an annual patient admission of 21,728. Yet the hospital only has 287 staff.

Some of the health workers were found living up to 12kms away from the work station.The hospital also lacked up-to-date inventories of health equipment.

Poor financing was found to be a major problem in all the hospitals studied. On a positive note, however, essential medicines was available in all the hospitals, although delays in delivery were a concern.

The research assistant for Hurinet, Ms Petronella Ochom, said the inadequacies have resulted in frustration of health workers, overcrowding, a general ineffectiveness of the hospitals and many avoidable deaths.

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