Health workers at Fort Portal Hospital demand more wards

The State Minister for Primary Healthcare, Ms Margaret Muhanga (centre) with other officials at the commissioning of  a cold room at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital on January 5, 2023. PHOTO/ALEX ASHABA

Health workers at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital have asked the government to build more infrastructure and recruit more specialists to address service delivery gaps.
Dr Alex Adaku, the hospital director, said there is a need to expand infrastructure with an urgent need for emergency and accident units.
He said the current wards have a five-bed capacity and at times they improvise with tents.

“The rate of accidents in this region is very high. Last year, we had two major accidents but we had to manage patients in uncomfortable circumstances,” Dr Adaku said.
He also called for the expansion of the current maternity ward and surgical ward complex.
Dr Adaku decried the lack of specialised medicine at the hospital.
“Most specialised medicines are not on the essential medicines list and the most affected department is orthopaedics implants and supplies for orthopaedics technology,” he said.

Mr Tom Rubaare, the chairperson of the hospital board, said most structures at the facility are old such as the main theatre and the surgical ward.
“The government needs to allocate more funds to build new storied structures to be able to accommodate most of the wards. We have a new CT scan that has been installed in a small room which is near the maternity ward and because of radiation, it can affect pregnant mothers. We need a bigger isolation ward for epidemics outbreaks,” he said.
On Thursday, the State Minister for Primary Healthcare, Ms Margaret Muhanga, commissioned a cold room at the facility for storage of essential drugs for the Rwenzori region.

Ms Muhanga said all challenges the facility was facing would be documented and submitted to the Ministry of Health.
Dr Adaku said because of the poor referral system, the facility has continued to experience drug stock-outs because most patients are not referred.
“We receive 32o patients in our outpatient care on a daily basis and we have a bed capacity of 351 but we are congested and most of the wards have not been expanded,” he said.
The facility bed occupancy rate is 72 percent while the average stay in the facility is four days and the hospital mortality rate is 3.5 percent reducing from 5 percent in the past years.
The hospital was elevated from a district hospital to regional referral in 1996.

Dr Adaku said the current staffing level stands at 72 percent while that of specialists is at 9 percent.
“We have specialists in areas of surgery, paediatrics, gynaecology, mental health, ear, nose and throat (ENT), but we need more specialists to cover other areas,” he said.
Dr Adaku said the facility lacks specialists in radiology who can run the CT scan which has been installed at the facility but is not yet functional.
“We need an estigeologist, pathologist, public care specialist, when such are recruited, it will enable the facility to concentrate to handle specialised cases,” he said.

Dr Reuben Kyomukama, a surgeon attached to the facility, told this publication last year in December that a patient who had collapsed was referred to Mulago Hospital.
He said their facility has no personnel to treat the victim since the bronchoscope machine is based at Mulago.


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