KAPCHORWA – Authorities at Kapchorwa General Hospital have asked the government to elevate the facility to a regional referral hospital, citing swelling numbers.
Speaking to PML Daily, a senior health worker who preferred anonymity because she was not authorized to speak for the facility said that there is an urgent need to elevate Kapchorwa General Hospital, saying the hospital handles patients from over five districts including Kapchorwa, Kween, Bukwo, Bulambuli, and Sironko.
The hospital which is congested and understaffed currently handles over 500,000 people including patients from Bukedea and the Karamoja sub-region. Official hospital records show that it also serves patients from the Kenyan counties of Trans-Nzoia and West Pokot.
Kapchorwa General Hospital was established in 1962 with a bed capacity of 150 but its catchment population has kept increasing for the past 60 years.
Due to the poor state of the facility, the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) Engineering Brigade recently built and donated to the hospital, a 16-bed capacity neonatal centre in a record 28 days at a cost of UGX. 68m.
The newborn hospital situated within Kapchorwa General Hospital is considered a crucial sigh of relief by both residents and medics but there are no health workers to use it.
Sister Lydia Yapyeko, the in-charge maternity and neonatal at Kapchorwa General Hospital said they were operating in an improvised section within the maternity ward with a desperate maximum capacity of 6 babies yet they always end up with an overwhelming number of between 8-10 babies in a day.
Sister Yapyeko urged the government to consider allocating human resources capable of running the unit which apparently employs a mere 6 staff numbers instead of the mandated 16.
Ms. Everlyn Cherukut an Accountability Champion says the Sebei region has over 400,000 people with few health centers in the sub-region and so people are not able to get full services at the facilities in time.
Cherukut says if Kapchorwa General Hospital is upgraded into a Regional Referral hospital people of the Sebei Region and other districts boarding their region will manage to get good health services.
Speaking to PML Daily by phone, Richard Bukone Ssajjabi, the new Kapchorwa District, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) said he has been briefed about the issues affecting the facility including the understaffing levels but said he “I will break a leg to make sure all those issues are addressed”.
“The lack of enough health workers and support staff is a countrywide issue because we as the district don’t recruit health workers but it’s done under the supervision of the Ministry of Health,” Ssajjabi said, noting that the current budget which they were allocated doesn’t have enough funds to cater for the wages of additional health workers.