Sick infants at Nalufenya Children’s Hospital in Jinja District share beds. This puts their lives at risk since they are exposed to other ailments, hospital authorities have said.
The hospital director, Dr Edward Nkurunziza, said a bed is shared by at least three children.
Speaking at the closure of a health week at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital last Friday, Dr Nkurunziza said the children’s hospital with a 150-bed capacity, is getting overwhelmed by the ever increasing number of patients yet the space is too small.
According to Dr Nkurunziza, more than 200 child patients are admitted every day, which forces them to “squeeze several children on one bed”.
He said: “We admit more than 200 children daily which is an excess of 50 children every day. Because they are infants, we are compelled to put three children on the same bed, which is risky because each child has different diseases and they may end up going back with other diseases.’’
Dr Nkurunziza has now appealed for government support to expand the children ward at Nalufenya to accommodate the increasing number of patients.
He further advised parents to take their sick children to the nearest health centres before going to the referral hospital to get treatment.
When Daily Monitor toured the ward, at least each bed was being shared by either two or three sick children, with their mothers and attendants scrambling for space on the floor.
The congestion is further complicated by the number of attendants who escort their patients upon admission.
Ms Joan Nantale, one of the mothers at the facility who was nursing her baby, asked government to intervene by expanding the ward.
“I was referred to this hospital because my child was very sick, had no blood and they couldn’t manage her at a health centre III; but I fear she is likely to contract new infections from those she shares a bed with,’’ Ms Nantale said.
Another mother, Ms Kaudha Namulondo, said: “My child’s condition has worsened and I fear he might have contracted new infections from other patients. He only had malaria but he is now having a terrible cough.”
Nalufenya Children’s Hospital is the second branch of Jinja Regional Referral Hospital. It is on Clive Road.
The ward, initially owned by the Madhivani Group, was refurbished and handed over to government in 2005.
While health centre IVs are ordinarily planned to provide comprehensive emergency obstetric care, including caesarean sections, blood transfusion and anaesthesia (induced loss of sensation prior to surgery), most of them across the country do not have adequate capacity in terms of personnel and supplies.
As a result, general and referral hospitals receive overwhelming numbers of expectant mothers from health centres. This puts more pressure on the insufficient beds, health workers and other medical supplies.