Kayunga Hospital suffers setback as equipment worth millions stolen

The Kayunga hospital main entrance. A hospital insider revealed that the suspects managed to take the equipment outside the hospital through its tightly guarded main entrance because the prime suspect had on several occasions refused the guards to check his vehicle while exiting. PHOTO | FRED MUZAALE

Kayunga Regional Referral Hospital has suffered a setback following the theft of some of its newly procured medical equipment that is worth Shs400m.

According to Ms Hellen Butoto, the Ssezibwa regional police spokesperson, some of the stolen equipment was recovered in Lugazi, Buikwe District as it was being transported in a minibus commonly known as a drone to an unknown destination.

Ms Butoto revealed that a biomedical engineer attached to the hospital and three others who were in the vehicle that was ferrying the equipment at the time of interception have been arrested and returned to Kayunga Central Police Station with the exhibits.

Some of the recovered equipment include; a brazing torch, map gas, hand drill, vacuum pump, electric blower and charging valve.  

Others include a biomedical engineering tool kit, a soldering gun and all its components, screwdriver set, a hot gun, two adjustable spanners, a clamp metre and chopper brazing robes.

Ms Butoto said that on Tuesday last week, a whistleblower who also works at the hospital tipped off police, about the theft of the equipment that was being taken for sale.

"The theft of the equipment is a big setback to this facility because most of what was stolen are vital in the maintenance of the machinery that breaks down," she said.

"On receiving the information about the theft, detectives tracked the suspects with the help of officers from the ICT headquarters and vehicle was intercepted in Lugazi,” a police source said.

 Ms Butoto said a general enquiry file has been opened where the hospital superintendent and the store officer were also asked to record statements.

A source at the hospital revealed to this publication that the suspects managed to take the equipment outside the hospital through its tightly guarded main entrance because the prime suspect had on several occasions refused the private guards to check his vehicle while exiting.

It is suspected that a lot of equipment has been stolen from the hospital- something that would hamper the proper running of the facility.

Kayunga District Chairperson, Mr Andrew Muwonge, asked police to thoroughly investigate the matter and prosecute whoever is involved in the theft of the equipment.

Although Kayunga regional referral was elevated to this status last year, it is majorly operating as a general hospital as services offered by a health facility of that status are still lacking. The hospital is yet to get specialists in various medical fields while some medical equipment has not been put in place.

Mr Robert Ssentongo, the hospital director, declined to comment on the matter.

Kayunga Hospital was constructed in the 1970s and the facility recently benefited from a major renovation and expansion programme that saw it being elevated to a regional referral hospital. 

The Shs70b project enabled the facility to get additional units including; an accident and emergency unit, physiotherapy and gym unit, private out-patient department and wards, kitchen and laundry, isolation wards, maintenance and workshop, hostels for intern doctors and quarters for nurses. 


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