Naguru hospital nurses stretched, says director

Patients wait to be attended to at Naguru hospital as health workers went on strike last week over non-payment. The workers also complained of high patient turn up. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA.

What you need to know:

Following a strike by workers over pay, it now emerges that Naguru hospital is battling other challenges such as shortage of drugs and an overwhelming number of patients.


Drug shortage and lack of clear authority is one of the causes of the problems at Naguru Referral Hospital.

Although nurses at the hospital went on a sit-down strike last Friday because they had not received salaries for three months, they said the facility’s problems are more than just pay issues. They revealed that they are often overwhelmed and strained by the high patient turn up.

The hospital executive director, Dr Edward Nadumba, said they are operating with “a skeleton staff” that cannot match the number of patients they receive every day. “The nurses are overstretched since they have to be divided into three shifts,” Dr Nadumba said.
He added: “This is why you see patients flooded in the waiting rooms.”

The newly-constructed China-Uganda friendship hospital also reportedly lacks drugs.
“We are given Panadol and Amoxylin and we are told that these are the only drugs that the hospital has,” Mr James Opio, a patient, said.

As a result, several sophisticated ailments are being referred to other hospitals. However, Dr Asuman Lukwago, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, said the hospital was under the management of the ministry, although it receives funds directly from the Ministry of Finance.

He noted that the facility was understaffed because it was still under expansion, adding that the delay in salary payments was not isolated. “The government was still migrating names into the integrated personnel and payroll system and several hospitals have been affected,” he said.

Naguru hospital has an average of 230 workers and receives an annual wage bill of Shs1 billion.


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