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Kumi Patients Suffer amid Acute Shortage of Doctors :: Uganda Radionetwork

Kumi Patients Suffer amid Acute Shortage of Doctors

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Patients admitted in hospitals in Kumi are spending months without being treated because an acute shortage of medical personnel.
Some of the patients in Ongino and Atutur, the two major hospitals in Kumi district, say they have spent close to three months without being attended to by the doctors. A few lucky ones, who can afford it, pay a lot of money for doctors' attention.
74-year-old Blasio Okeruna of Nyero Kodike is one of several patients who are languishing in hospital.
Okeruna says his ordeal begun on November 8th last year when he was admitted in Atutur Hospital for the treatment of a hernia. He spent six days in Atutur without seeing a doctor. On his eighth day in hospital he was referred to Ongino Hospital.
Okeruna says that for the next three months he did not see a single doctor. It was only until Thursday February 5th that he was operated upon.
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Many patients do not have the money to spend on hospital bills and if they do not get immediate assistance, they are forced to return home.
Peter Okello, who is admitted in Ongino hospital with a fractured leg, says he was operated on the very day he was admitted. He however admits to paying 1.4 million shillings for the procedure.
Okello says poor patients are forced to sell their property, some of them even selling their land, in order to raise money for treatment.
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Dr. John Opolot, the Ongino Medical Superintendent says the hospital is too understaffed to give sufficient attention to each patient. He says the hospital has a capacity of 350 patients, but only six doctors. Three of the doctors are specialists and do not operate on the general ward.
Dr. Opolot says the hospital regularly recruits doctors, but they leave in search of better pay and working conditions.
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