Drug Stock Out Hits Mbale Regional Hospital Top story

3659 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
According to information obtained from Mbale Regional Referral Hospital the drugs ran out in December 2017. A highly placed source in Mbale Regional Referral Hospital told URN on condition of anonymity that they last received medical supplies in November last year.

A severe drug stock out has hit Mbale Regional Referral Hospital leaving patients with nowhere to turn for treatment. The hospital has run out of anti-malaria drugs, anti-biotics, fluids and other medical supplies like gloves and facial masks.  
Some of the key drugs that are out of stock are Artesunate, Gentamicin, Amoxicillin, Omeprazol, levofloxacin, Fluconazole and Metronidazole IV among others. 

Our reporters visited the hospital dispensary on Monday afternoon and saw several patients being turned away. Medical workers are now asking patients to buy drugs and medical supplies from private pharmacies so as to get treatment. According to information obtained from the hospital, the drugs ran out in December 2017.

A highly placed source in Mbale Regional Referral Hospital told URN on condition of anonymity that they last received medical supplies in November last year. The Hospital Director, Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo Ituuza has confirmed the drug stock out.

He blames the crisis on the huge of patients the hospital receives. Mbale Regional Referral Hospital serves patients from 16 districts with a population of over four million people. The patients are drawn from among other districts Mbale, Bududa, Manafwa, Sironko, Namisindwa, Bulambuli, Pallisa, Budaka, Bukedea, Tororo, Ngora, Kumi, Kibuku, Butaleja, Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo.
According to Dr. Tugaineyo, Mbale Regional Hospital has a bed capacity of 400 patients, adding that they admit more than 100 patients each day. He explains that they are currently asking patients to buy drugs and gloves as they wait for fresh deliveries from the National Medical Stores-NMS.

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Fatuma Nabwire, an attendant to one of the patient told URN that she had exhausted all the money she went with to hospital on buying medicine. She regretted accepted her patients to be admitted, saying it is proving costly since she has to buy almost everything. "I thought Mbale hospital being a government hospital it was stocked with enough drugs and that was the reason i brought my patient to a government facility," she said.

Peter Odoi, another patient attendant blame government for spending lot of money on MPs during the Presidential Age Limit bill campaign at the expense of stocking public hospitals with sufficient drugs and medical supplies. Another patient attendant who only identified himself as Oscar asked government to privatize government hospital since it has failed to stock them with enough drugs. "When there are no drugs in hospitals it affects patients," he said.

 A medical officer told URN that they are equally affected by the shortage of gloves. "Sometimes we are forced to handle babies with our bare hands when a parent fails to provide gloves," he said. The Mbale Municipality Member of parliament, Jack Wamai Wamanga has promised to raise the challenges of the referral hospital on the floor of parliament.  

Wamai has also promised to secure some medical equipment for the hospital.
Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo Ituuza, the Director Mbale Regional Referral Hospital has welcomed the initiative, saying they are ready to receive any support they can get. 

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About the author

Salume Among
Salume Among is the Mbale URN bureau chief. Among has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Among started her career in 2000 as a freelance writer for Etop newspaper before starting to write for its mother paper, The New Vision. She also wrote for the Vision Group's XFM radio station from 2008 until she left to join URN.

Among has a keen interest in local politics having been a youth representative in the Soroti variously between 1996 and 2010. Among also regularly reports on health, education, the environment and sports.