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Ugandan hospitals not equipped to handle trauma emergencies- survey

Dr Olive Kobusingye

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Ugandan health facilities are poorly equipped to offer emergency services according to a study carried out by Makerere University School of Public Health.

The survey which centred on finding out the state of emergency medical care services in Uganda was conducted in 111 health facilities in the 14 regions of the country. But according to the survey findings, health centre IVs, general hospitals and regional referral hospitals in the country do not have the capability to handle big traumatic injuries in their emergency departments.

Dr Olive Kobusingye, one of the authors of the survey findings and a senior research fellow at the  Makerere  University School of Public Health says the lack of emergency medical equipment and trained personnel was rampant at all health facilities visited. 

Some of the hospitals that were visited include Naguru, Fort Portal, Masaka, Lira, Jinja and Arua Regional Referral Hospitals. But Dr Kobusingye, only Naguru Hospital and Masaka are fairly equipped both with medication and human resource to handle emergencies, but none of the facilities had personnel trained to handle traumatic injuries. 

She adds that 80 per cent of all personnel had general training and could not perform life-saving procedures. No regional referral hospital had trained critical care nurses and several of them lacked trained staff and basic equipment such as suction machines. In terms of equipment and medicine, the hospitals did not have suction machines, medical oxygen, plasters to stabilise fractures or even intravenous fluid.

Dr Kobusingye says the findings show that the country’s health care system is not able to provide care for patients with life-threatening injuries. According to her, poorly equipped emergency departments have led to avoidable deaths.

Dr Jackson Amone, the Commissioner of Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health says that the health ministry is working on training personnel.

“We are working towards training health workers in different fields. We have offered scholarships to train anesthesiologist and people in other medical cadres to fill the missing points. So, the situation will change,” Dr Amone said.



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