MPs honour Soroti doctors for saving conjoined twin

Thursday April 08 2021
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The medical team from Soroti Regional Referral Hospital led by Dr Joseph Epodoi (2nd left) with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga (centre) at Parliament in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO | DAVID LUBOWA

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

Parliament spent the better half of the afternoon plenary yesterday honouring a team of doctors who separated a conjoined twin from her dead sibling.

The heroic act was performed at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital on March 26 after doctors at the facility referred the twins to Mulago National Referral Hospital but doctors there did not attend to them.

In despair, the parents of the twins’ mother, Ms Loyce Alinga, a Senior Three student, returned them to Soroti hospital two days later, where a team of 15 medical experts led by Dr Joseph Epodoi successfully separated them.
Yesterday, Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa moved a motion to honour the doctors.

“Doctors at Mulago could not attend to the conjoined twins. Parents returned them to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital. The twins were conjoined around the stomach, sharing the liver and number of things. The major artillery further complicated the surgery. Dr Epodoi exhibited remarkable work, service above self, patriotism, hard work, competence, dedication to the people of Uganda,” Mr Okupa said.

Appeal to government
He asked that government champions medical tourism, considers salary raise for the doctors and equips and rehabilitates all regional hospitals across the country.

The MPs acknowledged that the doctors are not well facilitated to perform their duties in saving lives and urged government to equally distribute the facilities to all regional hospitals to enable them operate efficiently.

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 They said, for example, Soroti hospital does not have a blood bank and depends on Mbale hospital, while the former’s structures are dilapidated.

State minister for Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru asked his colleagues in the Ministry of Health to prioritise health centres in rural areas.

“In many parts of the country, the health centres IIIs are for giving prescriptions. For you to fall sick in these parts of the country when you are poor is like a death sentence. I want to say this with a heavy heart, the minister of Health, you have a big responsibility to face this challenge head-on and ensure service delivery to the poor is equal to the rich, everybody,” Mr Ecweru said. He further demanded that all pharmacies near government hospitals be closed.

“The medical doctors who received them from Mulago hospital should have handled the twins with care.
Unfortunately, they happened to be from a family of the poor of the poorest. The doctors who received them didn’t see meaning in their lives. I say this with a heavy heart. They decided to sell them away to die… ,” he said.

“Mulago has been renovated but there are some officers who will first see the status of the patient to determine what they do. Dr Epodoi and his team didn’t care about their status. He saw human beings,” the minister added.

Those recognised
Surgeons

Dr Joseph Epodoi
Dr  Ajiko Mary Margaret
Dr Josephine Namugenyi
Dr Joan Uwantege
Dr lnnocent Ocen
Dr Amino Nakawesa

Paediatricians
Dr Florence Alaroker
Dr Clare Nakubulwa

Anaesthetists
Mr Jackson Keem Moding
Mr John Guma Ambaga
Ms Zenaida Kituyi

Nurses
Sr Jenifer Ajilong
Sr Sarah Alekal
Sr Medrine Kibatenga
Mr Daniel Ebwalu

pahimbisibwe@ug.nationmedia.com

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