Tuesday’s Horizon Bus accident in Lwengo District has outstretched nearby health facilities, exposing in microcosm the poor standards of public health care in the country.
Lyantonde Hospital, the nearest hospital to the scene of the accident, did not have an ambulance to transport survivors. The hospital’s ambulance has been in a condition of disrepair, hence nonoperational, for months. Instead, an ambulance belonging to Masaka Police was relied on to transport victims to referral hospitals in Masaka and Mbarara.
Paul Nyonyintono, a health worker at Lyantonde Hospital, says the facility could only admit 12 victims of the more than 40 that were taken there soon after the accident.
“The rest were referred to Masaka and Mbarara, more than fifty miles away. One of them died here at the out-patients-department as we waited to find space for her.”
Mr Nyonyintono says some of the victims are sharing beds, while others are being treated on the floor because there is a shortage of sick-beds in the hospital.
Mr Ahmada Semakula, a resident of Katovu near the scene of the accident, told this newspaper that the firefighting vehicle that arrived at the scene travelled all the way from Masaka because Lwengo Police lacks firefighting equipment. “We had to depend on crude tools to put out the fire,” he said.
Mr Semakula also said that three fatal road accidents have so far happened at the scene but nothing has been done about the offending bend.
The accident claimed 14 lives and left 44 people nursing serious injuries.