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Patients Overwhelm Masaka Outpatient Department

Our reporter who visited Masaka Regional Referral Hospital on Tuesday, found more than 400 patients scrambling to see a consultant at the general Out Patient Department.
Patients wait to see a doctor at the Outpatient department

Audio 1

The outpatient department of Masaka Regional Referral Hospital is overwhelmed by the number of patients seeking treatment. Several patients queue up at the newly constructed Masaka Regional Referral Hospital complex each morning to access examination cards. This card allows the patient to meet a clinician. Our reporter who visited Masaka Regional Referral Hospital on Tuesday, found more than 400 patients scrambling to see a consultant at the general Out Patient Department.

The OPD, which has 39 doctors, has become a battle ground for patients as they struggle to secure the card allowing them to see a doctor. However, many of them return home without seeing a doctor for diagnosis. Uganda Radio Network found at least ten patients on Tuesday returning home after failing to get medication. Sharifa Naiga is one of the patients who missed treatment on Tuesday. Naiga, a resident of Kyanjale in Kabonera Sub County told URN that she woke up early enough to be among the first patients at the hospital but found more 100 patients in the queue.

According to Naiga, she feels something hard and pain inside her tummy, which private medics have failed to diagnose. Naiga who was accompanied by her husband Hussein Kalema, told URN that she decided to return home after spending four hours without getting a number. Kalema told URN that this was the second time they had gone to the hospital but failed to see a doctor. He however, said they were expecting to get the best treatment from Masaka hospital because of availability of gynecologists but they chances seem too slim.

Kalema says that when they arrived at the hospital on Tuesday they found several patients who had spent the night on the cold floor after failing to see a doctor on Monday. He is worried that the condition of his wife might deteriorate because of their failure to see a doctor. 54 year old Hafisa Namusaazi also failed to see a c doctor because of the large number of patients. Namusaazi who looked frail told URN that suspects to be suffering from breast cancer. Her breast has a scar-like wound which is very painful.

Namusaazi claims that she has been trekking to Masaka Hospital for the past three weeks for cancer screening and to see a doctor in vain. She told URN that she spent six hours in waiting room but was ejected from the queue because she did not have a card allowing her inside. Namusaazi says she has now given up on getting treatment because she is unable to make it to the table, where the cards allowing her to see a doctor are issued. 14 year old Joseph Kaweesi told Uganda Radio Network on Tuesday that he was suffering from malaria but had failed to see the doctor since Monday.

According to Kaweesi he tried to get a number but failed because of the long queue. Ereazer Mugisha, the Masaka Hospital Principal Administrator said he was not yet that some people are going home without treatment. He however admits an increase in the number of patients flocking the facility daily. He says 2000 patients flock the General Outpatient department alone each day compared 500. Mugisha appeals to patients to be more patient and wait in the queues instead of returning home without treatment because the drugs are available.

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He also says the hospital has recruited two more consultants to address the overwhelming number of patients at the facility.