Improve Atutur General Hospital facilities

Patients and caretakers rest under tree shades at Atutur General Hospital in Kumi District. Photo | Kenneth  Odele

What you need to know:

  • The issue: Atutur General Hospital
  • Our view: The medical team at the hospital should be lauded for their dedicated service and commitment.

Even though the story of Atutur General Hospital in Kumi District is not new, it is unacceptable. For a hospital that serves Kumi, Pallisa, Katakwi, Ngora and Bukedea, among others, it deserves better.

Constructed in 1969 as a general hospital with a 100-bed capacity, the facility is overwhelmed with a growing population of patients and currently admits more than 300, despite having the same old structures, which last got a facelift in 2018.

The other challenges mentioned in our May 23 story about the state of the hospital are; medical workers having to operate without vital medical equipment in some departments such as radiology and theatre departments.

Dr Sarah Asio, the acting medical superintendent, revealed that since 2018 when the x-ray machine broke down, they have been forced to refer their clients to either Soroti or Mbale hospitals despite having enough competent human resources to handle such cases within the hospital.

As if that is not enough, because the hospital incinerator broke down in 2018, the hospital burns medical waste in an open area which is hazardous for the environment. A multimillion incinerator that the ministry of Health constructed in 2022 has failed to function with the contractor abandoning the site after defects were discovered during testing.

There’s also no isolation unit so both infectious and non-infectious patients are admitted in the same congested wards. This increases the risks of contracting other diseases while at the hospital. Then there’s the issue of leaking roofs on some wards.

At the end of their work shifts, the medical workers, after grappling with this kind of limited work environment and equipment, have to share tiny housing units meant to accommodate one person but now accommodate more than three staff members.

Such facilities that serve a huge chunk of the population should be prioritized. It is here that taxpayers’ money should be seen to create change and that development partners should be encouraged to invest and cause change, change that improves the quality of life of numerous people. 

The medical team at the hospital should be lauded for their dedicated service and commitment but even the most committed worker is limited when their working environment is not conducive. We hope that the authorities will be reminded by this story to do the needful not only at Atutur but at other facilities like it.