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Doctors Blame Jinja Botched C-section on Shortage of Specialists

Dr Idro observes that while more than a hundred specialist doctors are graduated every year, many of them are not yet deployed yet these are supposed to supervise interns. He adds that many of the deployed specialists are also given administrative posts in the hospitals that don’t allow them time in the wards or theatres.

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Several interns deployed in health facilities across the country are not supervised, creating a loophole with far-reaching implications for the sector. This is according to Dr Richard Idro the President of Uganda Medical Association. 

Dr Idro observes that while more than a hundred specialist doctors are graduated every year, many of them are not yet deployed yet these are supposed to supervise interns. He adds that many of the deployed specialists are also given administrative posts in the hospitals that don’t allow them time in the wards or theatres. 

The observation follows a botched C-section at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital, Eastern Uganda, where a baby lost a hand in an operation that was performed by interns, slightly more than a week ago.  The baby’s mother was reportedly bleeding excessively at 32 weeks of gestation, only days after her she was discharged from the same facility for pregnancy-related complications.

The hospital director Dr Edward Nkurunziza said that the mother suffered from antepartum haemorrhage, a serious complication of pregnancy which is sometimes caused by uterine rupture and that the intern doctor identified as Mathias Ngobi observed that the uncontrollable bleeding warranted an emergency C-section to save her life.   

In the process of the operation, they assumed that the baby was already dead, a conclusion which was based on false fetoscope results that failed to show the fetal heartbeat, and as such, more focus was put at saving the mother. 

But Dr Idro says such problems could be solved through coordination between the Ministry of Education, medical schools, and the National Council for Higher Education, to ensure that the number of interns is aligned with the available training sites and supervisors.  For him, each supervisor should take on no more than five interns at a go if this practical training is to achieve its objectives of a young doctor to have a feel of what treatments or other services they are delivering. 

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Currently, there is no limit on the number of interns a specialist supervises in a medical session.  Idro who was releasing findings of the association’s investigation into the Botched operation at Jinja hospital said it’s not unique to Jinja for interns to conduct procedures without supervision. 

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Idro said the association sent a team of four doctors to Jinja who spoke to the interns, the mother and hospital management and established that it was a difficult operation done to save the mother since she had reported with severe bleeding, yet visibility was poor due to numerous scars in the uterus. 

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Idro says this incident should inform the government of the need in different facilities, adding that as some specialists are not being recruited, the few in the facilities are also overwhelmed by the number of trainees.

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