What you need to know:
- According to the Masaka Regional Referral hospital director, Dr Nathan Onyachi, with the facility in place, they will be able to encounter any outbreaks of polio, Marburg, Ebola and Covid-19 compared to the past when the hospital had no specialised unit for emergencies.
Masaka Regional Referral Hospital has received a new facility to house the regional Polio outbreak control centre which will be used to monitor all outbreaks in the area.
According to the Masaka Regional Referral hospital director, Dr Nathan Onyachi, with the facility in place, they will be able to encounter any outbreaks of polio, Marburg, Ebola and Covid-19 compared to the past when the hospital had no specialised unit for emergencies.
“The facility comes at a timely moment when we have just been given a new responsibility by the Ministry of Health to supervise other hospitals and health centres in the Masaka Sub-region,” he said during an interview on Saturday.
He pledged to put the centre to good use and improve the levels of responding to outbreaks and emergencies.
The Polio outbreak control centre was constructed by E-Health Africa with funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and two similar facilities have also been constructed at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital and Mulago National Referral Hospital.
While handing over the facility, Mr Wilson Inalegwu who represented E-Health Africa noted that they aim at equipping hospitals with the capacity to respond to emergencies and outbreaks and they will continue extending their services to all regions.
“Two regional hospitals and a national hospital have already received the Polio control centre facilities and our plan is to have more of such facilities in other regions for proper planning and monitoring of outbreaks,” he said.
According to the commissioner Integrated Epidemiology, Surveillance, Public Health Emergencies at the Ministry of Health, Dr Allan Muruta, the three control centres will boost sector capacity through improved technology installed in the facilities to easily monitor and respond to outbreaks.
“Most of our hospitals have been lacking the capacity to encounter outbreaks of diseases like Covid-19, Polio and other related emergencies, but with these facilities in place, monitoring and coordination will be easy and such health issues will be easily addressed,” he said.
In August this year, the Ministry of Health confirmed a polio outbreak in the country. The polio virus was established on July 21 from two samples collected on June 1 from the sewage plants of Bugolobi and Lubigi in Kampala.
Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, which was simply a treatment centre for syphilis, was elevated to a referral level in 1995 to offer services to the greater southern region districts.
Since then, the hospital management has been grappling with many challenges ranging from lack of space to accommodate the overwhelming numbers of patients, inadequate drugs to irregular power supply.
However, most of these challenges have been addressed after the facility received financial support from the government of Uganda, Japanese government and Equator University of Science and Technology medical school.
The university has already set up a state-of-the-art diagnostic and medical imaging centre at the facility, which is nearing completion and will offer specialised dental services such as artificial teeth manufacturing, modern imaging equipment and a dental school among others.