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Private facilities reap big as Soroti hospital fails to run x-ray services

Soroti Regional Referral Hospital

Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Private health facilities in Soroti City are reaping big from patients in need of X- ray and ultra-sound scan services. This follows the breakdown of the X-ray machine at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital for more than a year now.  The ultra-sound scan machine at the regional referral can only handle 30 patients per day, according to sources in the hospital.

The situation has forced medics in the hospital to refer patients to nearby private facilities. The private facilities charge between Shillings 25,000 and 50,000 for X-ray and ultra-sound scan services. At KAM Images Center, just opposite the hospital, a number of patients line up every day to access X-ray and other services. Others patients end up at Soroti Community or Joint Clinic among other renowned private facilities.

Our reporter found Jane Atino, a mother of three from Katine Sub County in Soroti district seeking x-ray services at KAM Images. She explained that she was referred to the facility last year from Soroti Hospital but couldn’t afford to pay for the service at the time. 

“I have been feeling a lot of pain in the back and the chest that has affected my work at home. For some time, I couldn’t even sit and that’s when I decided to visit the hospital. But from the hospital, I was told to do X- ray. When I reached here, they asked for more than 50,000 Shillings which I didn’t have at the time. That’s when I decided to return home and just came back today”, she said. 

Atino is among the hundreds of patients who seek X-ray and ultra- sound scan services daily at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital but have to resort to private facilities for the services. Dr. Michael Muwanga, the Director of Soroti Regional Referral Hospital acknowledges the challenge with X-ray services. He notes that the only machine available broke down over a year ago.

Dr. Muwanga explains that the machine needs replacement since the one in the laboratory cannot be repaired. 

According to the Auditor General’s Report of 2020, Soroti Regional Referral Hospital is faced with challenges in the delivery of services due to lack of adequate medical equipment, idle medical equipment and failure to properly maintain medical equipment. The report notes that 34 per cent of the mothers are referred to other health units because of equipment crisis and drug stock-outs. 

The report also revealed that 37 Health facilities in the country had 324 pieces of equipment that were non-functional.

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