Arua regional referral hospital rejects two nurses
todaySeptember 30, 2021
By Federick Dramadri. Arua regional referral hospital has rejected two enrolled nurses posted to the facility by Ministry of Health due to its poor structure. West Nile Members of Parliament during their visit to the facility were alarmed by the overwhelming number of student nurses working in the maternity ward with only one midwife playing the supervisory role. One of the nurses who declined to be named said situations become difficult when some of the nurses are off duty and others take unnecessary leaves. “When there is a delivery in the theatre you are supposed to go and receive the baby and of course you cannot leave the student nurses to go alone. Now the challenge becomes worse when you have delayed, that’s when you see some mothers who will deliver in your absence and the rest of the students may not do much. At least if the number of nurses could be raised to 15 per week from seven so that at least 2-3 midwives are assigned on duty, I think things will be fine”, she said. Arua hospital was elevated to a regional referral facility in 1996, but the structural adjustments have never been made and the seal for staff list has remained the same as that of a district hospital. The facility currently has 7 midwives with only one nurse assigned per shift. At least 200 babies and 17 mothers died in maternity ward by December 2020 in a period of nine months, attributable to staffing gaps and late referrals. Tabu Suzan, the in charge of Maternity ward at the facility says the staff sealing gap has made it difficult for them to attend to all the mothers especially during emergencies. “I was very disappointed when Ministry of Health sent us two nurses and we turned them away and yet there’s scarcity of human resource worsened by increasing cases of emergencies. Government should harmonize the structure of this facility so that we can have more workers here”, she said. But the hospital director Dr. Filbert Nyeko says the current situation being witnessed at hospital is beyond the management of the facility. “It is true two nurses were rejected here. But also we cannot continue adding more. When we add one nurse we are supposed to feed the data into the Human Resource System and it will question why we are adding someone again because the system is already full, and Ministry of health cannot deploy any more person at the facility until that space is opened up much as we have a staffing gap”, he said. Meanwhile, Lematia Ruth Ondoru, the MP Maracha East Constituency says the ministry of Public Service should harmonize the structure, adding that the current structure is not corresponding to the ever growing population of the region. “1996 is a long time. The ministry is not taking care of the population expansion with the refugees in the region here, and they are not taking care of the new diseases which are coming out, am sure that number is before Murbug, before Ebola, before Covid-19 etc. Government should be able to strengthen services here by strengthening the structure and deploy more workers, otherwise we are losing a lot”, she said.
COVER PHOTO: Sign post of Arua regional referral hospital showing the different departments. The facility is grappling with staff shortage. Photo by Federick Dramadri.