Residents Cry Foul Over Hospital Staffing
June 24, 2012
Health service delivery in Bugamba Sub County in Mbarara district will deteriorate if the issue of understaffing at Bugamba health centre IV is not urgently addressed.
The health facility which serves over 3000 people has only 8 health workers out of a total of 49 workers who are supposed to be there. Area residents now say the limited number of health workers is affecting service delivery at this multi-million shillings Centre. “The health centre opens late and due to the big patients to doctors ratio, some patients go back home without getting treatment” sadly noted Kizza Denis a resident of Byanamira cell in Bugamba adding that this issue has not got adequate attention from the leaders.
This facility has recently acquired a fully furnished operation theatre which now faces a prospect of lying idle for some time as long as the issue of few workers is not solved.
With the rugged terrain of the area which complicates access to the health centre, inadequate staffing is an aggravation of the health complications in the area. “There is nothing that hurts as reaching the hospital after such a long journey only to be told that you cannot be worked on since the workers are tired because they have been working on many patients” Benon Zebikire a resident of kitojjo cell which is about 10 kilometers from hospital said.
The Public Outcry
With this state of affairs, residents have more often voiced their concerns over this issue but all in vain.
The sub county chairperson Grace Bwire acknowledges the problem. “My office is aware of this problem and we have received many complaints from our people as well. We have forwarded our grievances to the top authorities for redress” he explained adding that they have even notified the area member of parliament Vicent Mujuni Kyamadidi who comes from the nearby village about the issue.
Stake Holders Intervention
In march this year, the coalition for health promotion and social development Uganda (HEPS), a non-governmental organization that seeks to promote health rights and responsibilities launched the HEAR project which is currently under implementation in many sub counties of Mbarara district including Bugamba.
Under this project, people are empowered to know their health rights and responsibilities. “Once people know their health rights, they will take them up or demand for explanations and actions from the people concerned” noted Pilagia Tusiime the project coordinator. “When people speak out with one voice, they are easily heard than we in the NGOs because sometimes we are misunderstood” Rosette Mutambi, the HEPS executive director elaborated during a 2 days community leaders training about health rights and responsibilities held at Bugamba community hall that ended on June 21.
Heps on Health Challenges
The case of Bugamba health centre IV is a small drop in the ocean. All health centres and hospitals in the country are faced with the same problems of under staffing, inadequate medicines and equipment, water and power shortages among others.
However Mutambi attributes all this to poor funding of the health sector. “Our national budget for health is so small. In the past years, the country’s health budget has been around 13 percent of the national budget but it might reduce for this financial year (2012/13) which is unfortunate” Rosette Mutambi sadly noted adding that with such a small budget, health issues like under staffing will persist.
Her voice is an addition to other calls by different stake holders advocating for more funding to the sector for a healthy population as an old adage goes “A healthy nation is a wealthy one”.