Hospitals decry power outage, water shortage

by Amref Health Africa

Health officials from various health centres in Soroti District have expressed concern over the endless power blackouts, water shortage and inadequate staff, which have failed health service delivery to the people.

Dr Charles Oloit, the officer-in- charge of Atirir Health Centre IV, said the health centres are not connected to the national power grid and only dependent on solar panels. He says this affects night operations in the theatre.

“My colleague recently attempted to conduct night operations in the theatre for a mother who failed to deliver, but the solar power was insufficient to light. Since then, we have called off any of such night operations until power challenges are restored,” he said on Monday during a joint monitoring and evaluation exercise of key health centres conducted by the district leaders and African Medical & Research Foundation.

Dr Oloit said they cannot store blood, which leaves those patients in urgent need in danger.
“Blood needs to be kept in room temperature for a period of 23 hours out of 24 hours a day, we don’t have a refrigerator and power to ensure that blood delivered is safe,” he added.

Regional supervisor speaks
The regional supervisor of police health centres, Mr Emmanuel Mwesigye, said the health centre III at Soroti Police Barracks, serving the communities around has unsolved issues such as absence of refrigerator for vaccines, staffing gap and the structures need renovation.
“We have been in touch with the office of the district health officer, who supplies essential drugs at the district level but also with our top bosses over some of these issues that need immediate attention,” he said.

Mr George Michael Engunyu, the chairperson Soroti District, said some issues are above the intervention of the district, saying there was a pronouncement by the President some years on matters of power in health centres.
“The last time we were in Atirir area, we hinted on issues of water shortage, unfortunately we had a borehole but the people misused it,” he said.

Mr Engunyu said as a district, they will write a letter reminding them about the president’s promise to have power connected to health centres.
He also appealed to non governmental organisations in the district to fill the void.
Mr Stephen Ekoom, the deputy Resident District Commissioner, appealed to the health staff to use the available resources and serve the communities as they fix the problems.

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