Stolen Medical Equipment Found Hidden in Mortuary

2548 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Kitgum district security committee has recovered several medical equipment, medicines and medical supplies hidden in a heap of Medical garbage in a mortuary in Namokora Health centre IV. They include a testoscope, five first aid boxes stuffed with an ultrasound machine, forceps and rolls of delivery sponge. It also had bundles of death and birth registration forms, a neonatal weighing scale, unused flip charts and other diagnostic tools.

Kitgum district security committee has recovered several medical equipment, medicines and medical supplies hidden in a heap of Medical garbage in a mortuary in Namokora Health centre IV. The supplies had been concealed among heaps of garbage labelled 'expired drugs' in a mortuary for disposal.

They include a testoscope, five first aid boxes stuffed with an ultrasound machine, forceps and rolls of delivery sponge. It also had bundles of death and birth registration forms, a neonatal weighing scale, unused flip charts and other diagnostic tools.

The authorities became suspicious after finding more than 20 hospital beds, office chairs and weighing scales rusting away in the cold behind the operation theatre. Based on this, an impromptu visit was conducted to ascertain the state of affairs at the facility. It established that several hospital properties have been vandalized to facilitate theft.

"The doors have been forcefully damaged under unexplained circumstances to gain entrance in to the building."

Meanwhile, Retired Engineer Okech Willy Okello, the Chairperson of the Health Center Management Committee suspects that some health workers at the facility conspire to steal the medical equipment for sale. He says useful inventories are being disposed off as expired drugs without proper records.

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Kitgum Resident District Commissioner Captain Santos Okot Lapolo explains that hospital equipment was at the mercy of the lone security guard who was found drunk at the time of the visit while the mortuary windows had also been left open certainly to facilitate the disappearance of the equipment.
 
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But a female nurse, speaking on condition of anonymity said the five first-aid-boxes are often used in medical outreaches under the primary health care program. She said the beds were dumped outside after NUHITES, a USAID funded project supplied new hospital beds to the facility a year ago.

Francis Okello, the recently posted Health Officer in charge of the facility says he is working hard to clean up 'bad things' he inherited from former administration.

 Onen Charles Ssaali, the Namokora sub county chairperson says his administration will take over the storage of the beds at the sub county headquarters.
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About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.