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
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.
Bureau Chief, Tooro Sub-Region