Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Naguru Hospital is in the process of transforming to become a national referral hospital that will specialize in handling trauma and emergency services. But there’s no plan yet for expanding in terms of space.
Even at its level as a general hospital now, the facility is often overcrowded with bed occupancy now at more than 110 per cent. Dr Emmanuel Batibwe, the Executive Director says that although the hospital has over the years transformed from a small facility at the level of Health Center II, they have remained squeezed on a five-acre piece of land donated by the Kampala Capital City Authority.
Dr Batinwe was speaking during an event at which Uganda Revenue Authority handed over hospital infrastructure such as beds, chairs and a tent donated by as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to mark 30-years of the establishment.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit last year, the hospital was one of the earliest to be designated treatment centres.
Batibwe says they have to date over 5,000 patients treated for the disease but notes that they were challenged in the provision of Intensive Care Services whereby they initially lacked equipment. However, when they eventually got the equipment, services in the unit have still remained hampered by the lack of the necessary personnel to work there.
Annually, the hospital gets support worth 200 million Shillings in funding or equipment from Chinese donors but he said they have been encountering challenges having them cleared through customs even as most of these items are exempted from taxes by virtue of being medical equipment.
On his part, however, John Musinguzi Rujoki, the Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) said they contributed to Naguru Hospital knowing the challenges that they go through of overcrowding yet the country is battling a pandemic that requires strict social distancing restrictions. He said that the 150-seater tent they donated he said is to be used to house immunization services.