Shortage of Medical Workers Hits Masaka Hospital

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In short
Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Masaka Hospital director, says they want 544 health workers including 20 specialized doctors.

Masaka Regional Referral Hospital needs up to 544 health workers to fill in the gaps at the hospital.

Masaka Hospital gets an average of 1500 patients daily including the in-patients and those who trek from their homes in Masaka and other districts. The hospital has got 12 medical doctors and several other support health workers.

Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Masaka Hospital director says they want 544 health workers to fill in several departmental gaps. She says of the 544 workers, they need about 20 specialized doctors to operate on patients at various departments.  Some of the badly needed specialists include an ophthalmologist, gynecologists, pediatricians and three general surgeons among others.

Dr. Tugumisirize explains that without enough medical workers, health service delivery at the hospital is highly compromised by the huge turn up of patients.

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Elieza Mugisha, the Masaka Hospital Principal Administrator, says they lost several specialists who were transferred to other areas but have never been replaced. He identifies some of them as Dr. Asuman Lukwago, a senior physician who was transferred from the hospital and promoted to become Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of health. Dr. Francis Mulwaanyi, an eye specialist, was transferred from Masaka Hospital Eye department to Hoima Hospital.
Mugisha claims that the transfer of those experts without replacing them has overwhelmed the hospital and stretched the few medical workers available. He says they have notified the public service ministry to consider recruiting more medical workers for the hospital.

Patients claim that lack of enough medical workers is putting their lives in danger. They say they have to wait for hours before they get medical attention because even the few available health workers are always busy.

Isma Kirumira, who is attending to a patient at the hospital, says lack of medical workers keeps them stuck in wards without medical services. Kirumira, whose 2year old daughter was admitted in the hospital on Tuesday with malaria, says they spent 9 hours without getting medical attention because the few health workers were attending to other patients. Kirumira says he traveled from Kiwangala in Lwengo district.
Joseph Kalungi, the Masaka LC5 Chairman has asked Government to expedite the recruitment of new medical workers to save lives of those who die due to lack of medical attention. He explains that with the lower health units ill-equipped, many patients turn to Masaka hospital for medical attention.
Later this month, Masaka Hospital is set to open a new multi-billion shilling hospital facility complete with five modern operating theaters.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.