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Soroti Hospital Struggling to Operate Neonatal Unit

The unit operates in a tiny room within the paediatric ward. The room has three baby warmers, three infants’ beds and an incubator.
Neonatal Unit at SRRH

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The Neonatal Unit at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital is struggling to operate.  

The unit operates in a tiny room within the paediatric ward. The room has three baby warmers, three infants’ beds and an incubator.

Doctors and nurses only visit the unit during routine check-up and when administering treatment, leaving the unit open to visitors and strangers who engage in noisy conversations.

The unit also lacks specialists like neurosurgeons to manage complications like hydrocephalus, cleft palate, cleft lip and gastroschisis among others in infants. The hospital also lacks an intensive care unit for children with complications and it’s forced to refer cases to CURE Children’s Hospital in Mbale or St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu. 

Lucy Agero is a mother whose newborn was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at the hospital had to travel to Mbale, more than 100 kilometres for treatment. Agero, who comes from Ojiji village, Obalanga Sub County in Kapelebyong district spent almost one week in the hospital before meeting the costs for transferring her baby to CURE Children’s Hospital for treatment on Monday.

She said that she was surprised that the regional referral hospital didn’t have such specialized services.

“We were referred here from Kapelebyong because we thought this place was equipped. But this magnificent hospital lacks capacity to manage complications in children. There are no emergency rooms or separate washrooms for mothers who have been operated”, she said.

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Another parent, Patrick Oparie from Kidetok in Serere district was referred to St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor after they were admitted with cleft palate in Soroti Regional Referral Hospital.

The family was forced to travel with a one- day- old infant to Gulu, a distance of more than 255 kilometres because Soroti Regional Referral Hospital had no specialist. 

Dr Florence Egwau, a Paediatrician in charge of the ward says they don’t have enough personnel to regulate entry into the unit. She also revealed that plans are underway for an intensive care unit and other expansions to take care of the neonatal unit and the paediatric ward in general.