Power Crisis Cripples Key Medical Operations at Masaka Hospital

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In short
The power crisis has seriously affected medical services at Masaka regional referral Hospital. Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Masaka Hospital Director says although they now use generators daily, there are other equipment that cannot run on generator. She says the equipment used in neonatal unit does not use a generator.

The persistent power crisis in Masaka region has crippled and stalled key medical operations and specialized procedures at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital.
 
Greater Masaka region is experiencing weeklong day power outages. The power cuts have been going on since September last year. UMEME says these power outages are a result of the ongoing Mutundwe-Kabulasoke Power Line general maintenance.
 
However, this power crisis has seriously affected medical services at Masaka regional referral Hospital. Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Masaka Hospital Director says although they now use generators daily, there are other equipment that cannot run on generator. She says the equipment used in neonatal unit does not use a generator.
 
Dr. Tugumisirize therefore says two major specialized laboratories and the premature unit are the most affected.
 
// Cue in: “In some wards…
Cue out: …budget for recurrent.”//
 
Dr. Tugumisirize also says the power crisis has forced the hospital to triple fuel consumption from 700, 000 to 2, 000, 000 per two days.
 
 ( Luganda byte) // Cue in: “ Kubanga generator ennene…
                                  Cue out: …ebizibu ebya Masanyalaze.”//
 
In several wards Uganda Radio Network found patients using candles and lanterns due to the power crisis.
 
Swaibu Sulambaaya, the Masaka Patient rights representative, says the hospital does not have power on weekends. He says they agreed with UMEME to provide uninterrupted power supply to the hospital but accuses Duncan Mwesigwa, the Masaka Umeme branch manager, of not honouring the agreement. He claims that the noise from generators is affecting patients with hypertension.
 
Sulambaaya also says when they went to meet Mwesigwa to inquire the persistent power crisis and its effect to health services, he claims the manager locked them out.
 
Joseph Ssekasamba, the Masaka Deputy RDC, says they are investigating Mwesigwa for allegedly providing interrupted power supply grasshopper catchers yet disconnects the hospital. Ssekasamba says they are investigating reports that Umeme prefers disconnecting power supply to hospitals such Masaka hospital and Kitovu hospital to save it for grasshopper dealers at night.
 
But Duncan Mwesigwa, the Masaka UMEME manager says the power crisis is in most cases beyond his control. He claims that power is in most cases switched off from Kampala. He denied providing power to grasshopper dealers.
 
The current power outage has also forced some radio stations like Radio Equator, Masaka FM formerly Top Radio, and Word of Life to suspend daily operations. Frank Bwekumbula, the acting manager of Masaka FM, says they cannot afford to fuel the generators on daily basis.

 

Mentioned: umeme masaka hospital

About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.

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