Medical donations eased burdens for Mukono General Hospital
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2021/09/medical-donations-eased-burdens-for-mukono-general-hospital/
Story and photos by Jimmy Siyasa
Four hundred. That is the number of patients that the medical personnel at Mukono General Hospital in Uganda wake up to each day.
Of the 400, 150 are attended to at the out-patient department and 80 are women receiving antenatal services. Twenty are attended to in the delivery section while 50 go to the hospital to receive family planning services. The hospital handles 6-8 emergency surgeries every day.
That is the life of Mukono General Hospital, a recipient of part of the donations of medical supplies that UCU Partners coordinated from Midmark, a US-based manufacturer of medical equipment, early this year. The supplies, worth sh520m ($141,488) were delivered by MedShare, a not-for-profit organisation, also based in the United States.
The donations were channeled through Uganda Christian University (UCU), which has a working relationship with the hospital. Among other collaboratives, the hospital offers internship placements for the university’s nursing students.
Dr. Robert Kasirye, the director of the hospital, received the donations which were in form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face shields, masks and sanitizer. There also were “mama kits,” a hamper given to a mother to be used during the delivery process. The kits have gloves, surgical blades and gauze, among other items.
These were timely, given that the country’s public health system was strained under the heavy load occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic that aggravated an already overloaded patient situation.
“We could not afford to give out face shields and gloves to all our health workers, every day, to attend to Covid-19 patients,” says Anne Grace Amutos Ssekajja, the pharmacy technician in charge of medical supplies and incoming and outgoing equipment at the hospital.
“So, when we get donors, we are really grateful,” she said. ‘The donations add to what we already have for healthcare provision.”
She says the quarterly budget that they get from government did not factor in the pandemic, hence the hospital was caught off-guard.
Public health facilities in Uganda, such as Mukono General Hospital, depend heavily on government funds and medical supplies through the National Medical Stores (NMS), a government entity mandated to procure, store and distribute essential medicines and medical supplies to all public health facilities in Uganda.
But the National Medical Stores often says it runs on a thin budget, which affects service delivery.
The Mukono General Hospital administrator, Fred Wandeme, said the quarterly supplies which they get from the National Medical Stores barely lasts them a month. When the stocks run out, the patients go to the hospital to get prescriptions and later buy the drugs at pharmacies.
However, with the donations, patients and health workers are able to access equipment, which oftentimes is not provided for in the government consignments.
Ivan Kabugo and some of his family members have been receiving treatment at the Mukono General Hospital for three years now. He says they are happy about the donations, noting that they will improve the quality of services they get at the facility.
“We are so grateful for donor support towards the hospital. I pray that they may continue to give us medicines, so that we don’t ever have to buy them,” he says.
Christine Nambuya, another patient, says because of the professionalism exhibited by the staff of the hospital, she will continue receiving treatment at the facility.
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