Atutur Hospital, situated in Kumi District, has been grappling with a non-functional X-ray machine since the year 2018. The medical facility’s management has struggled to rectify the situation despite the passing of five years.
Dr. Simon Oluka, the Medical Superintendent of Atutur Hospital, revealed during a recent community dialogue meeting held by the Kumi Citizens Network for Development (KUCIND), an NGO, that the hospital has been unable to offer X-ray services since 2018 due to the machine’s breakdown.
The saga began when the X-ray machine initially malfunctioned in 2018. An individual undertook repairs with the understanding that the hospital would compensate him for his services and the components used within a fortnight. However, when the hospital failed to fulfill its end of the deal, the repairer repossessed the machine’s motherboard, effectively rendering it inoperable once again. Despite an arrest and an order for reinstatement, the machine repeatedly faltered. Even subsequent attempts by ministry engineers to restore its functionality proved futile, adding to the hospital’s woes.
This unfortunate situation has led Atutur Hospital to redirect patients requiring X-ray services to private facilities in the vicinity. This alternative arrangement has not been without skepticism from some beneficiaries of the hospital’s services. They question the protracted duration it has taken for the authorities to address the malfunction, raising suspicions about the motivations behind the inaction.
A source who spoke anonymously expressed doubts about a potential collaboration between the hospital management and the Ministry of Health to deliberately incapacitate the machine. Such a scenario could potentially favor the growth of private healthcare establishments.
The Chairperson of Apuda village, Mr. James Omuya, lamented the ripple effects of the non-functional X-ray machine. He emphasized that the absence of these services has led to increased expenses for patients and adversely impacted the prompt delivery of healthcare.
Dr. Emmanuel Ongala, the District Health Officer (DHO) of Kumi, acknowledged the challenge and stressed that due to exorbitant procurement costs exceeding Shs300 million, the district lacks the resources to address the issue independently. He appealed for intervention from the Ministry of Health.
When contacted for comment, Mr. Emmanuel Ainebyona, the Ministry of Health’s Public Relations Officer, remained unresponsive to repeated phone calls, leaving the situation at Atutur Hospital unresolved and casting a shadow of negligence on the Ministry’s actions.