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Mbale hospital decries scarcity of nurses, midwives

Health workers at Mbale hospital are overwhelmed.

Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The inadequate number of nurses and midwives at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital is affecting service delivery to patients. The most affected are the acute, pediatric, maternity and general wards.

For instance, the acute ward has only eight out of the required 15 nurses. Nurses in the ward say that the high number of patients overwhelms them. Magdalene Kokol, the senior principal nursing officer at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital says the limited number of midwives and nurses affects their response to emergency cases.

She says that the hospital operates with 135 midwives and nurses against the required number of 200. Kokol says the situation worsens when the available nurses go on leave or take their maternity leave, which leaves like two or 1 nurse on the ward around.

The peak of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the hospital hard, as many health workers contracted the virus. Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo, the Director Mbale Hospital Regional Referral Hospital told Uganda Radio Network in an interview in June this year that they operate at 80 percent of their staffing level, adding that they need additional health workers in the most affected departments.

According to Tugaineyo, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the already bad situation in the hospital, which has 400 beds. Mbale hospital has severally been on the spot for alleged negligence of health workers leading to loss of lives. Between April and June, at least sixty-four children died in the acute ward due to alleged negligence.

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