JINJA- Apprehension is rife amongst patients suffering from HIV/AIDS in Jinja District following the disappearance of one of the CD4 count machines from the regional referral hospital.
The two-year-old machine used to measure the immunity of a person, especially those living with HIV, disappeared from the Hospital in late August, the Hospital administrator, Dr Edward Nkurunziza confirmed on Monday.
He said: “There was no sign of a break-in on the laboratory door. However, when we opened it the following day, it was missing.”
“We reported to Police which commenced investigations, interviewed a number of staff and three have so far been arrested,” he added.
The Kiira Regional Police Spokesperson, Ms Diana Nandaula, confirmed the arrest of three hospital staff, adding that a police manhunt is underway for two other suspects.
“The three are currently on police bond but we can’t disclose their names right now because we have not yet concluded investigations. We are still looking for two more suspects who were on duty when the machine disappeared,’’ Ms Nandaula said.
The disappearance of the machine, Dr Nkurunziza says, has greatly affected service delivery because it has only left one at Nalufenya Children’s Ward.
Although Dr Nkurunziza said that they are currently taking the samples to Nalufenya Children’s Ward, when Daily Monitor visited the laboratory, the machine was also conspicuously missing, with a laboratory technician who prefers anonymity saying the machine doesn’t exist at the ward either.
“We don’t have a machine here and have been taking our samples to the main Hospital by boda boda.
The Nalufenya laboratory Manager, Mr Sam Kasibante, however said all their tests are done at Jinja regional referral hospital.
Mr Nkurunziza appealed to the Ministry of Finance to increase on the Hospital’s funding so that its security can be beefed up.
“The Hospital is too big yet its personnel is small; we urge the Ministry of Finance to increase on our funding so that we can erect a strong perimeter fence and procure enough Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras,” he said.
Ms Joyce Ssali, one of the HIV/AIDS patients, described the incident as ‘sad news’.
“I have been receiving treatment from Jinja Regional Referral Hospital; but it is unfortunate that someone stole our machine. When the virus (viral load) in our body is measured, we know whether the tablets we are swallowing work or not so that doctors can change to another type,” she said.