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Students at Kawempe Hospital Conduct Operations on Broken Theatre Beds

Dr Elizabeth Byakwaga, the Chief Resident Obstetrics and Gynaecology told State Minister for Health Robinah Nabbanja, during a visit this afternoon that they don’t have masks and aprons and that even as they work in theatres, they lack basic disinfectants like alcohol.
Postgraduate students of medicine attached to Kawempe National Referral Hospital have complained of working under the risk of contracting COVID-19 and other serious infections, owing to lack of sundries.  

Dr Elizabeth Byakwaga, the Chief Resident Obstetrics and Gynaecology told State Minister for Health Robinah Nabbanja, during a visit this afternoon that they don’t have masks and aprons and that even as they work in theatres, they lack basic disinfectants like alcohol.

The Senior House Officers (SHOs) were meeting Ministry of Health Officials to air out their grievances over an arrest of a colleague only identified as Bwambale. During the meeting the team said that in addition to working without the necessary equipment and protection, they are never supervised in the night as their specialist professors are ever away something that they say is not adding to their academic progress.  

“Imagine being in the theatre alone. We work without help. A senior House Officer works without an assistant, he has to push and pull alone and sometimes on broken theatre tables. This doesn’t only put the mother and baby at risk but even the SHO,” she said, adding that it was disheartening that an officer working under such circumstances was arrested in the most inhumane way, without even alerting their Head Of Department at Makerere University.  

Bwambale was arrested on Tuesday in a joint security operation involving the police and detectives from the State House Anti-Corruption Unit as an accomplice to a one Acleo Byamukama from Mulago hospital orthopaedic department in extorting 200,000 Shillings from a patient who had been to the hospital for a Caesarean section delivery.  

While Bwambale was released a day later, SHOs earlier threatened to strike referring to his arrest as an injustice since the students were retained even as other students had been sent back home after the president closed down schools in march as a way of halting the further spread of COVID-19.  

Byakwaga who was representing a group of 70 SHOs at the meeting said Bwambale cooperated with the detectives and helped them arrest the criminal but he was still held and had charges of extortion preferred against him. They now want the charges dropped.  

Dr Charles Olaro, the Director of Clinical Services in the Ministry of Health said that even if the SHOs are doing a commendable job, they should beware of not committing crimes or even conniving with criminals.  

He promised that the Ministry will follow up on the investigations and a response will be given immediately.  He also acknowledged that they are fully aware of the deplorable conditions at the hospital warning this should be cause for extortion.  

However, Byamukama who was tracked down using his phone contacts following complaints from unsuspecting victims of his extortion scam is said to be a perennial criminal who could do ward rounds and would give patients prescriptions.

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