An acute shortage of doctors at Bundibugyo Main Hospital is putting hundreds of people at risk.
The hospital has only one doctor who serves patients from Bundibugyo, Ntoroko and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This week the doctor, Steven Ssesanga Kaddu, is out of office to attend the burial of his father in Nakaseke. His absence means there is no attending physician on hand and no one to run the theatre.
Thomas Kamuhanda, a nursing officer in charge of the women's ward, says the hospital is overwhelmed with the large number of patients in need of emergency care. He says a number of children in the pediatric ward are in critical condition and there is an urgent need to operate on cases of obstructed labor, retained placentas and strangulated hernias.
Kamuhanda says many of the patients were referred to other hospitals in the Rwenzori region, but they are too poor to afford the transport costs.
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Kamuhanda says Bundibugyo Hospital is not the only medical facility in the district in dire need of more personnel. He says Nyahuka and Kikyo health centers have no doctors and the level of care given there are basic.
Both health centers are located in hard-to-reach mountainous areas.
Thomas Masereka, a Bundibugyo resident, says his expectant wife is in need of urgent operation. She was referent to Fort Portal Hospital, but he has no money to hire transport for her.
Masereka says he was forced to take her to Kikyo Health Center where the chances of her survival cannot be guaranteed.