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DR EPODOI: Soroti Hospital can perform better with revamp

A Soroti hospital surgery last month on Siamese twins’ saved one life. The Doctor who led the operation is confident the hospital can do more if well funded. PHOTO @SamuelArimon

Soroti, Uganda | EDWARD ENINU – URN | The Senior Consultant Surgeon at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital Dr. Joseph Epodoi says his facility can perform better if government revamps it.

Dr. Epodoi and a team of 14 other medics performed a historic surgery on March 26th, 2021 after successfully separating a conjoined living twin from his dead sister. The deceased twin had taken six days and was decomposing by the time of the operation.

In an exclusive interview today, Dr. Epodoi said that it is not the first time Soroti RRH has undertaken specialized surgeries which would ordinarily be undertaken at national referral hospital.

Dr. Epodoi revealed that they conduct weekly operations on children born with genital abnormalities in the hospital besides other daily surgeries on different health complications.

According to Dr. Epodoi, Soroti RRH has operated more than 2,000 women with urinary challenges in the last 15 years and was recognized by the UPDF in 2003 after conducting surgeries for 235 LRA war victims in Teso between June and October 2003.

He notes that the hospital has managed to wipe out hydroceles from the region following series of camps conducted at the facility over the years. Dr. Epodoi observed that at the time Soroti was elevated to regional referral hospital, almost every village had men suffering from hydroceles, one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases- NTDs but that has since been reduced.

“A lot has been going on in the hospital here, but we have not had the publicity to express ourselves. What has tipped the balance is our recent separation of the Siamese twins. In June last year, we did another heroic surgery, a pregnancy that had taken place in a liver up to term….the baby is now bouncing, 8 months old and in good health” said Dr Epodoi.

On Thursday last week, Peter Busiku, the Principal Private Secretary to the Speaker of Parliament invited Dr. Epodoi and the team to Parliament on April 7th, 2021 for the MPs to applaud them.

The letter was authored after MPs from Teso asked for recognition of the team for risking a surgery beyond their capacity. The conjoined twins had been rejected from Mulago National Referral Hospital on grounds that that there were higher risks in separating the deceased child from the one who was still alive.

The Soroti Medics conducting their recent operation on the conjoined twins. PHOTO @SorotiHospital

When asked what he would present to Parliament on Wednesday, Dr. Epodoi said that there are issues of infrastructure, personnel and equipment. The surgeon is hopeful that the honour and recognition to the team shall translate into reconstruction of Soroti RRH into a better facility to enable them conduct more specialized surgeries in the facility.

“We want a medical workforce which is motivated, which has training opportunities with all vacant posts filled. That is how you can offer quality service,” said Dr Epodoi, add that, “Then there is the issue of infrastructure, this hospital is quiet old as it started as a centre to treat syphilis victims of the second world war. Something has to be done as buildings are quite old an appaling. Finally we need equipment upgraded, as people use computers these days to operate.”

Santos Labeja, an elder and one of the CSO founding heads in Teso is optimistic that the invitation by Parliament will help the country appreciate the talents and skills from the region. “Soroti Hospital should be one of the specialized hospitals in the country. We have some of  the best brains here and all they need is motivation, infrastructure and equipment”, he said.

Soroti RRH has 274 beds and offers specialist curative (medicine, pediatrics, surgery, maternal health) promotive, preventitive, rehabilitative and research services to a population of approximately two million people.

The hospital is one of the 13 public RRH in the country, serving ten districts constituting the Teso Sub Region. The hospital started as a syphilis treatment center in the mid-1920s and became a district hospital in 1978 until it was elevated to a RRH status in 1996.



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