Buwenge Hospital Suspends Services over Power Bill

3025 Views Jinja, Uganda

In short
Baligeya Stephen, the Senior Clinical Officer at the facility says that the hospital has an outstanding debt of 11 million Shillings accumulated over a period of two years. He says that the hospital cannot afford to pay utility bills off of its annual allocation of six million Shillings.

Buwenge General Hospital, in Jinja district has suspended theatre services' following its disconnection from the power grid two weeks ago over an unpaid utility bill. The hospital has also halted childbirth and blood transfusion services.

Baligeya Stephen, the Senior Clinical Officer at the facility says that the hospital has an outstanding debt of 11 million Shillings accumulated over a period of two years. He says that the hospital cannot afford to pay utility bills off of its annual allocation of six million Shillings.

A visit by URN this morning found that the hospital theatre, blood bank and refrigerators for preserving vaccines were non-operational. Expectant mothers and patients who need theatre services now have to trek to Jinja Regional Referral Hospital, almost 30 kilometers away.

Baligeya told URN that some of the services at the hospital will be suspended for some time until government intervenes to clear the debt. The hospital serves more than 3,000 patients from the districts of Jinja, Kamuli and Kaliro among other communities every month.
 
//Cue in: "Struggling to pay...
Cue out...in blackout forever."//
 
Baligeya adds that the hospital has also failed to fuel the generator that could have been used as an alternative source of power supply to the facility. He says that in the two weeks that the facility has been disconnected, the hospital has lost vaccines worth over 100 million Shillings.

Hajara Wambuzi, a mother who is nursing a child suffering from pneumonia says that the darkness at the facility has made it difficult for her to monitor the child during night time. They have been admitted for three days.

"We buy candles at night but they are not sustainable and they are risky yet I need to check on my baby every now and then to see his condition. Sometimes the doctors skip treating patients at night because of darkness." she said

Oliver Nakyanzi, the Jinja district Chief Administrative Officer-CAO told URN that the district is not responsible for funding the hospital. She noted that as a district, they have written to the ministry of health to intervene but have not received any response yet.

 

About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).