ICU lack experts to operate them – MPs told

Legislators being received at MRRH by the Mbarara RCC James Mwesigye and his Deputy Christopher Aine


Members of Parliament on the Covid-19 task force have identified the lack of specialized human resource to manage the critically ill patients in the Intensive Care Units as a major hindrance in the battle against Covid19.

According to Dr Celestine Barigye director Mbarara regional referral hospital, some of the specialized experts needed in the Intensive care unit include critical care nurses and Anesthesiologists.

The legislators who are moving around the western region have found that all the three of Regional Hospitals they have been to; Hoima, Fort Portal and Mbarara lack the human resource to work and operate in the Intensive Care Unit beds.

Rukungiri Municipality Member of Parliament Dr Elisa Rutahigwa says they had a meeting with the ministry of health officials before the fact-finding tour and one of the issues that needed to be addressed was how to manage the critically ill cases.

“The government has delivered the beds but the biggest challenge they have now is they don’t have human resource to operate the beds and must swiftly address that issue,” he said

Sheema Municipality Member of Parliament Dickson Kateshumbwa, says their discovery is that much as the government has tried to install ICU beds in some hospitals the challenge is that they are not operating 100% because of lack of the experts to operate them.

The installed ICU beds in some hospitals are now being used for high dependence so the government has to find resources to find the experts to save the many Ugandans paying hefty money in private hospitals while ICU beds in public hospitals  are lying idle,” he noted

Dr Rose Muhindo the head of Covid Treatment Center Mbarara regional referral Hospital told the legislators that with equipment available the problem remains with the human resource to talk about and it is very difficult to incubate the patient because monitoring is tough.  She says the centre practically has only one critical care nurse.

Dr Celestine Barigye Director Mbarara regional referral hospital says the facility has 48 Covid-19 beds that are installed in different Units that is; 15 in the emergency unit, 16 in the main covid-19 treatment Unit, and 17 in the private unit

Out of the 48 beds 15 are fully equipped with ventilators.

Barigye says that with the help of Mbarara University of science and technology that has a school of critical care nurses and Anesthesiologists these help in giving services to the patients.

Hoima Municipality Member of Parliament and the team leader Dr Paul Ruyonga says what they are going to do as parliament is to write a report and put together their findings and recommend for the remuneration of human resources to the intensive care unit. 

In a 2019 report by Dr Patience Atumanya from Makerere University College of Health Sciences, called Assessment of the current capacity of intensive care units in Uganda; the country had only 55 functional beds in 12 ICUs amid a glaring shortage of specialists to run the units.  

The legislators are moving around the country to identify the challenges that are hindering the fight against Covid-19 and also establish whether funds voted by Parliament to fortify the Covid-19 fight have served the intended purpose. 

Today the western group headed by Dr Paul Ruyonga are headed for Kabale and Kisoro districts.


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