Fort Portal Regional Hospital Struggling to Operate without X-ray Machine, CT scan

John Mali, the In-charge of the Department, has confirmed that the X-ray machine broke down about two months ago and they now send the patients to private hospitals for the services.
The X-ray machine at the Imaging Department of Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital broke down about two months ago.
Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital Imaging Department is struggling to operate effectively due to a faulty X-ray machine and lack of a CT scan.   

John Mali, the in-charge of the Department, says that the X-ray machine broke down about two months ago and they now send the patients to private hospitals for the services.  

Even though Mali declined to disclose the details of the issue saying he was not authorized to speak to the media, he noted that the issue had been reported to the hospital administration and they are waiting for a solution.   

However, a source well versed with the operations of the hospital says there is more than meets the eye that is failing effective service delivery at the Imaging Department of the regional hospital.   

For instance, the source disclosed that before the 12-year-old X-ray machine broke down, the Atomic Energy Council had already stopped its use because it was emitting high radiation.   

Our reporter has been able to confirm this after seeing the machine physically with a notice reading, “Practice Closed by Atomic Energy Council”.   

The Atomic Energy Council was established in 2008 to regulate the peaceful applications of ionizing radiation to protect society and environment from dangers resulting from ionizing radiation. 

The source says that the staff that operates the machine were being exposed to radiation that can cause different types of cause cancer, and the Council recommended that changes be made within the room to mitigate the effect.   

Some of the changes included fixing a special glass in the window of a small room from where the radiographer operates the machine.   

“With that LED glass, the radiation cannot reach the radiographer during the process of taking X-rays,” the source explains.    However, the glass has not been fixed yet.   

It has also been established that the reason why the machine has not been repaired is that it is only the Ministry of Health that is mandated to look for the mechanics and not the hospital administration.   

According to the source, this practice has always delayed the repair of other machines at the hospital because the procurement process takes so long at the disadvantage of the patients.   

Currently, patients from the region who need X-rays have to move to private health facilities like Kabarole and Virika hospitals.   

Rose Kamakune, whose son had fractured the left leg, says she was forced to part with 25,000 shillings at Virika hospital for an X-ray. She condemns the regional referral administration for failing to repair the machine.  

With the regional hospital serving more than ten districts that include Bundibugyo, Kasese, Kitagwenda, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, and Kyenjojo, Mali says they also need a CT scan for some cases.  

For now, patients that need the CT scan in Rwenzori Sub-region have to travel either to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital or to Kampala.   

Dr Alex Adaku, the hospital director, says plans are underway to ensure the X-ray machine resumes operations.  

 Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health senior Public Relations Officer, says they are aware of the challenges Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital is facing and they have a plan to ensure it is fully equipped and necessary repairs made.