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Arua Hospital grappling with staff shortage as COVID-19 fight continues

FILE PHOTO: Arua Hospital

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Arua regional referral hospital has been hit by staff shortage amid the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The hospital currently has 308 members of staff out of 360 essential staff to manage the hospital of which 277 are employed by the Ministry of health, leaving 82 vacant posts in the hospital including those to be managed privately.

The regional hospital is supposed to have 41 doctors managing different departments but only 9 are available giving a shortfall of 32.

Dr. Philbert Nyeko, the Director Arua Regional Referral Hospital says there is need to immediately bridge the staffing gap in light of the looming challenge arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Dr. Nyeko, attracting doctors and other specialists to work at Arua regional referral hospital has become difficult because of limited social amenities within the district and the region.

However, Bernard Atiku the MP for Ayivu County appeals to the ministry of health to withdraw health professionals from other regional referral hospitals where there is no COVID-19 case pressure and post them to Arua hospital.

According to Atiku, the ministry of health should consider equipping all referral hospitals with essential drugs, equipment and labour force.

In a board meeting two months ago, the hospital Board Chairman, Dr. Sam Okuonzi stressed the need to fill the existing vacancies at the hospital saying the people of West Nile should encourage their qualified children to take up the positions instead of thinking of social amenities which do not end in anyway.

The staffing gap according to the hospital management if not addressed sooner could result into increased fatigue and mortality rates as a result of inadequate or poor service delivery.

However, reports from the ministry of health show that priority is currently being given to emergency health workers and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

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