KABAROLE. Authorities at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital are experiencing a high turnover of pregnant women.
This has forced the facility to discharge mothers a few hours after delivery to create space for others.
The government-aided regional hospital has one maternity ward which handles all expectant mothers who are referred from health centres.
This has prompted the hospital management to discharge mothers who deliver normally within six hours which is against the required medical standards.
The hospital director, Dr Florence Tugumisirize, says those who undergo cesarean section are discharged after two days. The guidelines from the Ministry of Health require that any mother who delivers normally is discharged after 24 hours.
“We receive many referrals from health centres and other hospitals around the region while other mothers refer themselves here without first going to health centres, which makes the hospital congested yet our maternity ward is small compared to a number of mothers we receive,” Dr Tugumisirize says.
According to the hospital performance report, between June 2017 and June 2018, the facility had 8,256 deliveries of 7,000 mothers they had planned to handle that same period.
Of the 8,256 deliveries, 2,190 mothers underwent cesarean section.
However, in the general outpatient department, the number of patients by June was 244,249 of the 100,000 patients the facility had anticipated to receive.
In family planning department, between June 2017 and June 2018, of the 5,000 patients who were expected to visit the facility, 3,009 attended. The hospital management had expected 15,000 for antenatal care but 11,404 attended, for specialised outpatient department 201,295 were received while those admitted were 29,818 patients.
“The hospital admits 350 patients daily and when they come with attendants, the number shoots to beyond capacity which makes the facility congested,” Dr Tugumisirize says.
State Minister for Primary Health Care, Dr Joyce Kaducu Moriku, while in Fort Portal last week, said: “It is so sad that Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital is operating out of standard because of many patients. You cannot discharge a mother after six hours and two days for those who are operated. It is not acceptable. We are not doing the right things because these mothers need to be monitored after delivery. I want you (director) to do something which is standard.”
Dr Moriku advised that there is a need for the hospital to come up with the policy on how to reduce on the number of patients especially those who refer themselves at the facility.
“We need to make a referral hospital be a real referral because for someone to come with cough, fever at the facility without a referral letter should not be attended to but instead be asked to use lower health facilities. For example, you need to look at the number of mothers who deliver from this facility and see where they come from and tell them to use health centres in their areas,” Dr Moriku advised.
She expressed concern over the low performance of some lower health centres for not helping mothers to deliver in their facilities but allow mothers to be referred to the regional referral saying it is the reason why Fort Portal hospital is congested.
The Ministry of Health report for the Financial Year 2017/18 indicates that deliveries in Rwenzori Sub-region increased from 60 per cent in 2016/17 to 65 per cent in 2017/2018. But for Kabarole District alone, the report shows that deliveries increased by 20 per cent from 83 per cent in 2016/17.
The Kabarole District health officer, Dr Richard Mugahi, said the high number of mothers delivering from health facilities is due to the introduction of “mother-to-mother emergency ambulance scheme”.