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Kawempe Hospital still struggles with congestion

Magambo vitalis

Sept. 06, 2019

Kawempe Referral Hospital is still grappling with high number of newborns, especially those in critical condition, and in need of space in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Three weeks ago, disturbing images of dozens of infants in the hospital’s neonatal special care unit receiving treatment on plastic chairs, went viral on various media platforms.
However, Mr Lawrence Kazibwe, the hospital acting deputy director, said although the action coerced government to deliver some babies beds, they are squeezed and not enough “Even if we get more beds, where shall we put them? The number keeps increasing every day,” Mr Kazibwe told Daily Monitor in an interview last week. The NICU is supposed to handle 30 babies, but gets at least 60 babies daily, and sometimes 90 babies or more.
Mr Kazibwe also said some of the beds they secured are from the neighbouring Komamboga Health Centre III in Kawempe Division. When our reporter visited the Kawempe hospital’s unit, there were new beds for the babies and all the plastic chairs had been taken away, allowing limited space for movement of mothers and health workers who enter to breastfeed and offer treatment respectively. The waiting area of mothers in the NICU has been degazatted, which the hospital administrators said is one of the things they are doing to reorganise and expand the unit
Strike Unconfirmed reports also indicated that the health workers at Komamboga Health Centre III had gone on a sit-down strike, protesting the withdrawal of the beds. A source at Kawempe hospital also imitated the same but said the beds were returned to calm the health workers at the lower facility.
Komamboga Health Centre III administrators declined to talk to our reporter. Dr Charles Olaro, the director for clinical services at the Ministry of Health, said the issue of limited beds is just a small component of the bigger problem because the ministry can buy more beds but they cannot do the same for space.
‘We are currently doing a root analysis and preliminary reports indicate that these are not all mothers from Kawempe [Division] but from other areas and facilities,” he said.
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