Hospital loses vital medical kit in rampant power cuts

Mubende Regional Referral Hospital serves between 250 and 300 outpatients and 200 inpatients every day.  PHOTO / FILE  

What you need to know:

  • The hospital authorities say some of the equipment that have got damaged include theatre lights, X-ray exposure switches, dental surgical microscopes, autoclave sterilisers, among others.

The management of Mubende Regional Referral Hospital is counting losses after losing vital medical equipment due to rampant power outages in the area.

Mr Charles Tumushime, the hospital principal administrator, said the challenge of unstable power started in January. He said whenever power goes off, it comes back with a powerful surge, thereby damaging vital medical equipment at the facility.

“We have tried to raise this issue with the national power distributor Umeme, Mubende branch. We wrote to them on February 3, but unfortunately, they have not replied our letter to date,” Mr Tumushime said on Tuesday.

He said some of the equipment that have got damaged include theatre lights, X-ray exposure switches, dental surgical microscopes, autoclave sterilisers, water distillers in the laboratory, air conditioners, washing machines, lining dryer and ironing machines.

“Of course, we have managed to repair some equipment such as washing and ironing machines, X-ray exposure switch, one of the theatre light bulbs and laboratory distiller, which has cost us Shs20m. However, the same equipment risk getting damaged again since the problem persists,” he said.

He added that other equipment, including autoclave sterilisers and dental surgical microscopes are beyond repair and need urgent replacement.

To manage the current situation, Mr Tumushime said they have been forced to resort to diesel–powered generators, which are expensive to maintain due to the escalating fuel prices.

Ms Melon Agaba, the Umeme supervisor, Mubende branch, declined to talk about the persistent power outages at the hospital and referred this reporter to the Umeme operation and maintenance engineer, Mr Henry Mulondo.

However, Mr Mulondo said he was not aware about the problem at the health facility.

“I am going to get back to the service supervisor and find out whether the hospital doesn’t have power. If it is true, we shall send technicians to investigate the problem and fix it,” he said.

Mubende Regional Referral Hospital, which serves the districts of Mubende, Kyenjonjo, Mityana, Kiboga, Kassanda and Gomba receives between 250 and 300 outpatients and 200 inpatients every day.


Power outages

Mubende is one of the districts which suffer frequent power outages and on average, power goes off in the area at least thrice every a week.

Whereas other factors such as technical faults and bad weather contribute to the power outage in most parts of the country, theft of copper cables, angle bars and vandalism of electric poles are usually the main causes of power outage.

According to the Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2022, all persons found guilty of power theft will be subjected to a fine of Shs1b or be jailed for 15 years and, or, both.

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