Kitgum Hospital is grappling with acute shortage of drugs and medical supplies as National Medical Store (NMS) is yet to deliver the essentials.
Hospital officials say the shortage has now lasted since December last year.
“The hospital has currently run out of stock of essential medicine and medical supplies,” a January 14 letter signed by the hospital medical superintendent, Dr Okello Geoffrey, and addressed to the Chief Administrative Officer, reads in part.
The letter further indicates that the hospital has been struggling to finance emergency medical supplies.
“The hospital management looked for money to purchase some of the emergency medical supplies to cover for the festive season, but they got over,” Dr Okello added.
He said the schedule for delivery of the drugs was supposed to have been on December 19, 2019, but NMS failed and instead changed it to January 6, which they equally did not adhere to.
The hospital administrator, Mr Bezzy Peter Omoya, on Tuesday said NMS had further pushed the date of delivery of the medical supplies to January 13, but they still failed.
“What this means is that it has affected normal operations in the theatre. Our medical staff cannot work with bare hands,” Mr Omoya said.
He said on Monday, expectant mothers with caesarean operations were referred to St Joseph’s Hospital, a non-profit making hospital run by the Catholic Church.
“When our medical staff advise you [patient] to go and buy something so that they are able to work on you, please try to understand. Our hands are tied,” he said.
Mr Omoya, however, said the zeal to work and help patients was still high among medical personnel at the hospital who are willing to continue providing their services to the sick.
The Kitgum vice chairperson, Mr Billy Graham Odongkara, who also attended the media briefing, noted that the government hospital was important to majority of residents who were too poor to afford treatment at private health facilities.
“They can only start bringing their patients here again when drugs and medical supplies arrive. Because if you are admitted at the hospital and the patient unfortunately dies, then it would portray a bad image and yet we wouldn’t be in a position to effectively treat you,” Mr Odongkara said.
Kitgum Hospital was built to handle a 100-bed capacity but now caters for at least 246 patients. It has a catchment area of Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader, and Agago districts and also refugees from South Sudan.