22 May 2011


A nurse works on a patient lying on the floor in Hoima hospital

Hoima Regional Referral Hospital is suffering an acute shortage of medical personnel following the retirement of some staff and migration of others overseas. This hospital is the referral facility for a population of around 500,000 people living in the area.
The hospital is run by 8 doctors out of the 35 indicated in the establishment. The laboratory has one personnel at the level of a technologist. The hospital has 34 nurses out of the required 56. The X-Ray department is run by one staff.
Hoima hospital has 97 staff out of the 197 required to run the hospital leaving a gap of 107 personnel. Consequently, the hospital has been working under threat from the patients’ attendants whose anger is aroused by the death of their dear ones or neighbours in hospital due to poor quality of service delivery.
Most of the doctors have left their posts in search for greener pastures abroad, leaving only one who is the superintendent and doubles also as the only surgeon. However, this doctor has retired leaving a vacuum in the ward, which is yet to be filled, according to a source at the hospital.
According to the Ministry of Health, Hoima Hospital is supposed to have 10 consultants, but has only one obstetrician and gynecologist.
In addition, the hospital also lacks adequate operating theatres. It has only one general theatre that serving the orthopedic, dental, maternity, and surgical wards, with only one operating bed instead of three. Moreover, the hospital has been operating without a surgeon since 2009.

“There is no other option other than doing what we can and leaving what we can’t. What do we do when things are beyond our reach?” a staff lamented.
There is only one senior midwife in Maternity department. Maternity ward has 15 beds but can receive sometimes 30, making others sleep on the floor. There is one nurse in labour ward, one in maternity ward. When three mothers go into labour at the same time, there is only one midwife to attend to them.
“Sometimes a mother who is delivering calls the midwife attending to another who is in labour pain and she (the midwife) is forced to leave her to go and receive the baby,” one of the nurses said.
When contacted, the Hospital Director, Dr. Francis Mulwanyi, said: “Efficiency has reduced. We have no surgeon at all. This means that all patients with complicated cases have to be referred to Mulago National Referral Hospital.” (Dr. Mulwanyi should have said effectiveness: they are not achieving any result as far as quality of care is concerned)
He added that patients in all wards have to wait for long since there is no ward with enough staff and that the X-Ray department is run by one staff.
The deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr Abdul-Swamadu Wantimba said he has informed the Minister In-charge of the Presidency, Ms Beatrice Wabudeya, about the situation.

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