Doctors threaten to lock down hospital over poor working conditions
10 February 2016, 12:25
Vihiga - Doctors in Vihiga County have threatened to lock down the Vihiga Referral hospital in Mbale if the County government does not fix the poor working conditions at the facility in two weeks.
In a letter addressed to Governor Moses Akaranga from the medical superintendent Godfrey Koba’s office and signed by 28 doctors, six key departments in the hospital have not complied with health standards.
Among departments that have been listed as broken down include the theatre, laundry, laboratory and x-ray unit, pharmacy, and referral units.
“Kindly note that we have been reduced to mere spectators especially regarding planning and decision making for health service delivery in this County. This has resulted into non-priority decisions taking precedence over obvious priority and core areas,” a section of the letter reads.
It adds, “This has decimated already lean resource kitty thereby starving the hospital of resources to deliver much needed essential services. Health workers out of desperation have resorted to ingenuity and innovativeness in trying to alleviate pain and suffering especially for poor patients.”
The doctors also note that such efforts significantly compromise quality of care and are therefore clinically unacceptable.
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The doctors observed that patients have lost confidence in healthcare providers as they are forced to seek key services which would have otherwise been offered at the hospital, from private providers.
They said in view of poor state of the hospital and impending collapse of service delivery and seeming lack of commitment by County government to intervene despite frequent reminders, they are heavily aggrieved.
“We kindly remind your honourable office to move in with speed and address the issues raised,” the letter reads.
They want the Governor to immediately unlock resources that would restore normalcy and bequeath the facility thedignity it deserves as a referral and teaching hospital and urgently fix broken equipment and machinery
They have further asked the Governor to engage hospital management in formulating a long term and sustainable healthcare financing framework.
“Please be informed that failure by your office to amicably address issues raised within two weeks effective Feb 5, 2016, we the doctors shall have no option but to lock down all the affected departments until when long term solutions are arrived at,” the letter reads.
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The letter notes that the only theatre that serves the entire County is not functional as it is poorly equipped.
Anaesthetic drugs, sterile linen, anaesthetic gases, tubing, lighting and adjustable theatre beds are all lacking due to recurrent breakages and shortages which is making it impossible to smoothly attend to emergency cases at any given time.
“The minor theatre at the hospital’s casualty department is in a deplorable state and its continued use poses a serious health risk to patients,” reads the letter.
The doctors observed that the hospital’s laundry machine broke down a year ago and despite several communiqués to the Governor’s office, it has never been repaired.
They also lament that for the last three months, patients have been buying virtually all pharmaceutical commodities in private chemists outside hospital at inflated prices.
“Many can’t afford all essential drugs prescribed resulting to longer hospital stay, drug resistance and other complications associated with under-treatment,” it notes.
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