Gov't responds to critical equipment shortage at Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital

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Gov't responds to critical equipment shortage at Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital
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Following concerns that raised the shortage of delivery beds at Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital, Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, has announced that new medical equipment is on its way.

The decision to address this issue comes after Gorreth Namugga, the Member of Parliament for Mawogola County South and Vice Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, emphasised the urgent need for delivery beds in a letter dated May 28, 2024.

Namugga's letter brought attention to the grave circumstances at Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital, where a shortage of appropriate delivery beds was forcing doctors to handle an average of twenty deliveries per day on surgical recovery beds.

The committee was shocked to learn that the hospital did not meet the minimal criterion of four delivery beds for a referral hospital, as stated by Namugga in the letter, which she  emphasised the urgent need for standard delivery beds.

The letter, was also  copied to the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister, and other key officials, underscored the committee's shock upon discovering the hospital's inadequate facilities, which fall short of the minimum requirement of four delivery beds for a referral hospital.

"The Committee was overwhelmed by this unfortunate incident," wrote Namugga .

By asking the specs of a standard delivery bed to assist procurement, she demonstrated her strong commitment to addressing this important shortage and improving the hospital's ability to provide safe delivery services and lower rates of mother and child mortality.

This situation prompted swift action, with the committee urging immediate attention from the Ministry of Health to rectify the deficiencies and ensure better healthcare infrastructure at Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital.

Dr. Atwine acknowledged the MP's commitment to improving healthcare services and confirmed that Entebbe Hospital, among others, is set to receive five new delivery beds soon.

"Your commitment to improving healthcare services is commendable, and we appreciate your efforts to procure a delivery bed for the hospital," she stated. The procurement contract was signed on May 30, 2024, and the delivery is expected shortly.

However, Dr. Atwine emphasised that the delivery beds are only a part of the broader issues facing the hospital.

She urged  MP's to help lobby for increased funding to match the hospital's needs as a Regional Referral Hospital, a status it has held since the 2018/19 financial year.

"The hospital has continued to receive the budget of a General Hospital despite our efforts to secure a budget enhancement," she explained.

The budget constraints affecting Entebbe Hospital are multifaceted. The wage budget is insufficient, covering only 15.5% of the required staffing levels, leading to significant understaffing.

"The staffing level of Entebbe Hospital is at only 15.5% of the required staff for a Regional Referral Hospital," Dr. Atwine noted.

Non-wage operational funds are limited, hindering daily activities and effective management.

The development budget, crucial for maintaining and upgrading infrastructure and equipment, remains inadequate, impacting the hospital's ability to provide quality care.

Additionally, the allocation for medicines is based on a General Hospital budget, resulting in shortages of essential supplies for the larger and more complex patient load.

Despite repeated requests to Parliament, budget adjustments to reflect its status, the hospital continues to operate on the lower budget affecting service delivery.

"All our budget proposals have been presented at the level of a Regional Referral Hospital. Unfortunately, these have not been fully catered for," Dr. Atwine lamented.

Dr. Atwine praised the hospital staff's dedication and the community's support, which have been crucial in maintaining healthcare standards amidst these challenges.

She called for continued advocacy from the MP and other stakeholders to secure the necessary funding to enhance the hospital's capacity.

"Your voice and advocacy can significantly contribute to addressing these budgetary constraints and improving healthcare delivery in our region," she urged.

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