Fire Guts Lira Hospital Administration Block Top story

3319 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
URN has learnt that the minister was prompted to schedule a visit to Lira Regional Referral Hospital because of several complaints from patients and whistle blowers implicating the hospital administrators for corruption, nepotism and abuse of office.

Fire has gutted the administration block of Lira Regional Referral Hospital destroying vital documents. The fire is said to have started in the accountant's office on the last floor of the two storied building at around 6:30pm on Monday evening.
 
It destroyed several computers, financial records, furniture and book shelves among other properties worth millions of Shillings.  John Jennifer Omara, an eye witness, says he saw dark smoke and accompanied by huge flames from the accountant's office.

None of the office occupants was around when the fire broke out. It took the intervention of the Police Fire Brigade team located just about 1000 meters away to stop the fire from destroying the entire building. The fire team took about minutes to put out the fire completely. Several patients in wards and their caretakers scampered for their lives and dashed for the main gate fearing that the fire could spread to the wards. 

They only returned after police put out the fire. Robert Abak, the Lira Resident District Commissioner, says it is too early to speculate on the fire but doesn't rule out rule out foul play. He has directed  Police to open investigations into the incident. Abak has also directed Police to recover all the documents rescued from the building and those that were partially destroyed for safe custody until investigations are completed. 

Abak wondered why the fire broke out in a key office on the very same day a team from the Health Ministry led by the Minister, Jane Aceng Ocero was expected to visit the hospital.
The minister is touring health facilities in Lango sub region but majorly focusing on Lira district. Aceng was expected to tour Lira Regional Referral Hospital on Monday evening but she was still caught up in the meningitis immunization exercise by the time the fire started. 

She has rescheduled to visit the hospital this morning. URN has learnt that the minister was prompted to schedule a visit to Lira Regional Referral Hospital because of several complaints from patients and whistle blowers implicating the hospital administrators for corruption, nepotism and abuse of office.  Other allegations include lack of basic drugs and other medical supplies like syringes and cotton wool among others.  
 
The hospital authorities have declined to comment on the fire. This is the third fire incident involving a major health facility in the country since this year begun. On January 08, 2017, fire gutted part of the Health Ministry building in Wandegeya in Kampala burning key documents.

Just a week after, fire broke out at Anaka Hospital in Nwoya district burning used office equipment worth over Shillings 50 million, which was due for disposal. Investigations into both incidents are still ongoing.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.