Hundreds flock Matany hospital for subsidised medical services

The entrance of Matany Hospital in Napak District. The hospital also serves patients from Lango, Teso and Bugisu sub-regions. PHOTOS  | SIMON PETER EMWAMU

What you need to know:

  • The not-for-profit health facility was started in 1970 by the Comboni missionaries as a maternity ward but later upgraded to a 300-bed capacity facility to serve Karamoja.

Hundreds of people from distant regions flock to St Kizito Matany Missionary Hospital in Matany Town Council, Napak District seeking healthcare at a subsidised cost.

Many are attracted to the hospital when government facilities run out of drugs or other health services.

On its gate is inscribed the words: “We dress the wound, God heals it”.

It’s inside these gates that Mr Charles Ojula, 34, who hails from Kapelebyong District, sought remedy for his swollen stomach, a complication that has left him financially drained.

The father of three travelled with his brother, Mr Samuel Okello.

“I came from Kapelebyong with my brother, he has had that complication for the last one year, but it has not healed, yet it has consumed a lot of money, so we were advised to try Matany,” Mr Okello told the Daily Monitor on Friday last week.

Mr Okello says when they arrived at the facility, they were warmly welcomed before his brother underwent a scan and multiple tests which cost them only Shs10,000. The doctor then prescribed drugs that also cost them Shs10,000.

No consultation fees were requested, which is a rare occurrence for them because private health facilities in Teso charge them.

The not-for-profit Matany Hospital was started in 1970 by the Comboni missionaries as a maternity ward but later upgraded to a 300-bed capacity facility to serve Karamoja Sub-region.

At its neonatal unit is Ms Agnes Arionget from Bukedea District, whose premature baby has been saved.

“I have been here for the last five days, I came here because the neonatal unit in Bukedea is constrained, so is Soroti Regional Referral Hospital. A good Samaritan advised us to try Matany. Matany offered the desired solution,” she says.

Ms Martha Munyes, a midwife in-charge of the neonatal unit, says the hospital has more than a dozen incubators but only uses eight due to space constraints.

“We only discharge the mothers with their babies when they get out of danger,” Ms Munyes says.

Ms Martha Munyes, a midwife in charge the neonatal unit, attends to a mother.

Dr Deusdedit Kateregga, the officer-in-charge of the maternity ward,  notes that on some occasions, they have more than 12 cases of premature babies at the unit.

“These children are not only limited to our catchment area, we have patients from Lango , Teso, and Bugisu,” he says.

Dr Kateregga attributes  the increasing cases of premature deliveries  over the years to feeding culture and exposure to malaria.

To reduce such cases, he says: “We always run nutritional centres both for children and elders.”

According to Dr John Bosco Nsubuga, the medical superintendent, patients are only required to pay 15 percent of the total treatment cost.

For instance, Dr Nsubuga says C-sections elsewhere cost about Shs750,000 but Matany charges Shs100,000.

He adds that patients seeking palliative care can find drugs for as low as Shs40,000.

“Even for minor cases that health centre IIIs would handle, patients still flock Matany because of the manner in which services are carried out. We make sure that the drugs are available,” he says.

Mr Nsubuga also says they ensure that all their facilities such as scans, X-rays,  and laboratory equipment are operational.

Since the hospital offers its services at a subsidised cost, they have to seek funding from other sources.

According to Dr Nsubuga, 61 percent of its budget is from donors in Europe, while government annually gives 10.3 percent for outreaches.

“Services may delay because of overwhelming numbers, but everyone receives treatment because we handle patients with kindness, respect, and love,” he says.

The hospital attends to a range of health issues, including intestinal complications, liver failures, obstetrical complications, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer screening, fractures, gynaecological problems.

Dr Nsubuga says they have 252 staff,  who include 58 nurses, 27 nursing aids,  eight doctors, five clinical officers, nine laboratory personnel and the rest are administrators.

Dr Nsubuga says they receive between 140 and 150 patients at the OPD on a daily basis , with majority admissions being mothers, children and accident victims

Last year, a staggering 1,500 accident victims were admitted to the orthopedic unit.

When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out two years ago, the medical superintendent says they had already placed a fully equipped oxygen plant donated by the German government in 2016.

He says this came in handy because when other hospitals run out of oxygen, Matany was self-sufficient, with more than 200 Covid-19 patients having sufficient oxygen supply.