Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo, the Director Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, says the hospital is struggling with blood shortage, adding that five children died on May 30th, 2021 because they couldn’t find blood, which matches their blood group.
At least sixty-four children have died
in the acute ward of Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in the past 68 days, URN
has learnt. The deaths occurred in April, May and early June. This literally
means that at least one child died at the facility each day. Records at the
hospital show that lost 20 children on April, 28 in May and so far 16 children
have died this month.
According to the records, the deceased
children were aged between 4 and 10 years. On May 30th alone, over 5
children are reported to have died in the acute ward. The authorities
blame the problem largely on acute shortage of blood in the hospital.
Ruth Nabirye, a nurse in the Acute Ward listed a number of reasons ranging from
the shortage of blood in the facility, understaffing of health workers in the
ward to the delayed referral of the children from the lower health facilities
as the cause of the deaths of the children.
She says that there only 7 out of the
required 15 nurses meant to man the ward. She explains that at least one staff
is away on leave each months leaving only six nurses on duty. According to Nabirye,
the policy requiring nurses to pick results from the laboratory has worsened
the already complicated situation. She, however, also notes that many of the children
die on arrival because of delayed referrals.
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Like Nabirye, Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo, the Director Mbale Regional Referral Hospital,
says the hospital is struggling with blood shortage, adding that five children
died on May 30th, 2021 because they couldn’t find blood, which
matches their blood group.
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Tugaineyo says it is unfortunate that they lost such a number of children in
one day. “I request the public to be cooperative and donate blood,” he said. Dr.
Ahmed Bumba, the Manager of Mbale Regional Blood Bank, says they currently have
more than enough blood. According to Dr. Bumba, Mbale Regional Referral
hospital receives more blood compared to any other facility in the region.
He says that the hospital requested for
721 units of blood last month, which was provided. Dr. Bumba faulted the
hospital for failing to account for the blood they receive from the blood bank,
saying that they have never lacked the blood of any group because they keep
contacts of people with rare blood groups to help others in case of any
“We had a meeting with the permanent secretary of the ministry of health Dr. Diana
Atwine about the issues of blood within Mbale Regional Referral Hospital. It
was discovered that the hospital sells blood to patients. We resolved that the
hospital makes a report on each unit of blood given out, which is yet to be
implemented,” he said. Adding that “the management of the hospital should stop
using the excuse of lack of blood but rather work on their weaknesses like
absenteeism of medical workers at night and lack of accountability for blood
given to them.”
Edward Khauka, one of the parents who lost a child on May 30th, 2021
posted a message of the Mbale District Covid19 task force what Sapp group that
that fateful night, saying that six children including his died under his watch
due to the absence of a doctor, clinician and blood since the facility was being
manned by one nursing assistant.
“Horrible! Six o6 Children die in Mbale Referral Hospital in 3 Hours due to
lack of a Doctor or clinician & Blood on Acute Children's Ward, it's left
under the management of 01 nursing assistant. The media should capture this so that the
director gives an idea of what is happening in the Hospital. If the doctors or
clinicians or even student doctors and nurses are on strike, let the public
know. How can all the doctors switch off their phones” he posted in the group.
Dr. Tugaineyo refutes claims of absenteeism of medical workers and the
sale of blood, saying those who fall prey should come out and report to the
Kirinya Ayubu is the URN Bureau Chief of Elgon/Bukedi Sub Regions . He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Islamic University in Uganda and a Diploma in Computer Science and Information Technology from the same University.