Kitgum Hospital Overwhelmed With Patients From South Sudan

Comments 2595 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Kitgum Main Hospital is overwhelmed by patients, many of whom come from across the border in South Sudan.

Kitgum Main Hospital is overwhelmed by patients, many of whom come from across the border in South Sudan where a war has displaced thousands of people.
The district health department says the extra stress loaded on the hospital has reduced services in the hospital to a very poor state and rendered it incapable of attracting and retaining doctors.
Margaret Aryemo, the Assistant District Health Officer, says the hospital treats patients referred from as far as South Sudan and the districts of Kotido, Kabong, Abim, Nwoya, Pader, Agago and Lamwo.

In South Sudan, war broke out on December 15 when a political disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar went out of control. Over 1000 people have since been killed and more than half a million others are displaced.
Aryemo says some of the patients referred to the hospital arrive in critical condition after failing to respond to treatment in their areas. The hospital is currently being served by only two medical doctors.
Aryemo says the few numbers of personnel add to the bad roads and drug shortages to make the hospital a death trap. She wants political leaders to throw their weight behind the hospital to have it elevated into a regional referral hospital.
The ministry of health last year put the hospital in second position with the highest number of child mortality and maternal death rates. It said 1,628 mothers and children died at the facility during labour.
The finding has been corroborated by the district chairpersons of the four east Acholi districts of Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader and Agago who have petitioned their councils to bless their efforts to have the status of the hospital elevated to a regional referral hospital.
Luka Nyeko, the Kitgum district chairperson, says they are very concerned by the findings and have unanimously agreed to petition the Ministry of Health to have the status of the hospital elevated to a regional referral hospital.
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The chairpersons believe that elevating the status of the hospital will improve facilities by compelling the Ministry to recruit more doctors and equip the facility, as Nyeko explains.
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About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.