Poor Patients Stuck At Soroti Hospital over Ambulance Charges

2245 Views Soroti, Uganda

In short
The hospital requests patients to contribute 246,400/= worth 70 litres of fuel. The hospital tops up with 176,000 shillings to add another 50 litres. The ambulance needs 120 litres of fuel which comes to 422, 400 shillings.

Patients unable to afford ambulance costs are stuck at Soroti regional referral hospital.
 
Patients with complicated cases referred to another hospital have to meet ambulance costs of travel.
 
A number of patients referred to Mulago hospital in Kampala are stuck due to lack of funds to meet the costs of fuelling the ambulance.
 
To Kampala, the hospital requests patients to contribute 246,400/= worth 70 litres of fuel. The hospital tops up with 176,000 shillings to add another 50 litres. The ambulance needs 120 litres of fuel which comes to 422, 400 shillings.
 
A patient attendant from Katakwi district, Peter Okolo told URN that he was stuck in Soroti hospital after his wife was referred to Mbale regional referral hospital for blood transmission.
 
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A nurse on duty who declined to be named informed URN that Okolo's wife needs blood group O blood which is very rare. This is why the hospital referred her to Mbale referral hospital blood bank.
 
Another patient attendant stuck at the hospital David Ogulo said he was supposed to transport his charge to Mulago hospital in Kampala. Ogulo's patient was involved in an accident and needs specialized treatment as he suffered injuries to his brain.
 
Ogulo told URN that his patient was referred from Katakwi hospital to Soroti regional Hospital in a critical condition. He was then asked to send his patient on to Kampala, Mulago hospital but he does not have enough money. 
 
Paul Ajuk, the hospital administrator, admitted that the facility had been forced to ask patients to contribute to costs of running the ambulance.
 
Ajuk said the hospital was only able to meet the costs of up-keep of the ambulance driver and nurse who accompany patients to Mulago hospital.
 
He said that Soroti hospital refers about three patients per week to Mulago hospital because they need specialized treatment.
 
Ajuk revealed that Soroti hospital only receives seven million shillings fuel costs in the budget. The fuel costs include running the hospital standby generators.
 
He said the hospital had no choice and appealed to patients for understanding because this was the only way the hospital could be keep running and treating patients.
 
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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.