The Uganda Medical Association (UMA) has written to President Museveni, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga and Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, seeking recognition of the surgical and paediatrics teams of Soroti Regional Referral Hospital that successfully separated conjoined twins.
The team, led by Dr. Joseph Epodoi, the Consultant Surgeon at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, successfully separated conjoined twins comprising one alive and the other dead.
Joyce Alinga, a Senior Three student and resident of Obalanga sub county in Kapelebyong district is the mother of the twins.
Alinga gave birth to the babies at Amuria Health Centre IV but upon noticing that one of the babies was dead, doctors at the Health Centre referred her to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital which also sent her to Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala.
The medics at Mulago Hospital said the case was complex and sent them back home.
Paulo Oluo, the grandfather to the twins who also had travelled with the twins to Mulago in Kampala, decided to once again seek help at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital.
Medics at Soroti RRH then took a firm decision to do an operation on the twins which fortunately turned successful.
The twins shared a liver and some other body organs.
The Uganda Medical Association (UMA) has written to President Museveni, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda to honour the medics at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital for their amazing work.
In the letter, the UMA President Dr Richard Idro said, “Beyond the national achievements with the control of COVID-19, Soroti Regional Referral Hospital has demonstrated that the doctors and nurses of Uganda can do a lot more and even better.”
Idro also congratulated the medics at Soroti Hospital for the job well done.
“Uganda Medical Association (U.M.A) joins you in congratulating Dr. Joseph Epodoi and his surgical and paediatrics teams at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital upon the successful separation of Siamese
twins,” he said.
Idro added that last year, the same team successfully delivered a baby who was attached to the mother’s liver rather than inside the womb.
The team of doctors and paediatrics who carried out the surgery at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital.
As Museveni prepares to start a new five year term in May, the Medical Association proposed five areas of focus to further improve the delivery of especially curative health services.
The 5 areas included better pay for health workers as listed below;
Pay health workers their worth
“We are concerned with the failure of government to further enhance salaries of health workers in the 2020/2021 Financial Year so that the entry level Medical Officer is paid Uganda Shillings 5 million a month and pro rata as initially proposed. This is even despite the Presidential directive of 30th September 2019.”
“Moreover, the current salary scales of different departments of government have not taken into consideration the findings and recommendations of Government’s own 1996 Job Evaluation exercise undertaken by Ministry of Public Service which rated the Director General of Health Services the highest in civil service. The leadership of our sector should be remunerated appropriately,” the letter reads.
The Medical Association also said that it is awaiting the remaining four billion out of five billion shillings that President Museveni promised the UMA SACCO in 2017.
Provide onsite accommodation and re-integrate internship training into one-year public service posts as was the case previously.
Dr. Idro stressed that the conditions under which medical, dental, nursing, midwifery and pharmacy interns train is “worrying.”
He said that over a half of them have no onsite accommodation where they should be to provide 24 hours cover, and added that they are forced to rent cheap accommodation, some, in unsafe environments.
“Several have suffered grievous bodily injuries (including sexual abuse) as they returned to their “Mizigos” deep in the night,” said UMA President Dr Richard Idro in the letter.
Avail us with necessary tools to work
“As Soroti Regional Referral Hospital has demonstrated, our doctors and nurses can do an incredible job, but they need the tools to do their work.”
“Unfortunately, we work in situations of scarcity, we improvise daily, our students learn in environments that are below standard and may end up offering below standard services. This situation is unfortunately becoming the norm,” the Medical Association cried to Government.
Deployment of human resources for health based on existing needs
The Medical Association said that the current human resource establishment, which was designed more than two decades ago when Uganda’s population was just over 20 million, has been overtaken by population growth.
“We need this reviewed urgently to match the growing population and the changing health contexts as well as needs,” it said.
The Medical Association, however, applauded government’s decision to appoint 5 specialists (in Obstetrics and gynaecology, General Surgery, Paediatrics, Internal Medicine and Family Medicine) in each District General hospital. A few hospitals, for example, Iganga General hospital, have started to implement this decision.
Urgently employ, promote & fill all the vacant posts in the health sector
The Medical Association said that Uganda now graduates more than 500 young doctors and over 150 specialists annually.
However, despite the availability of these doctors and the still below expected health indices in the country, UMA said that many are unemployed yet many positions in Regional Referral and General hospitals and Health Centre IVs are vacant.
It announced that during our recent countrywide tour of the 14 regional branches of Uganda Medical Association, it found Arua Regional Referral Hospital had only 9 of the expected 41 doctors: positions for 32 doctors at different grades were vacant.
“For a referral hospital situated in a growing city and which serves the whole of the west Nile region (with a population of over 3.5 million people), the hospital did not have a single Radiologist, Anaesthesiologist, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Ear Nose and Throat Specialist, or Neurosurgeon to handle critical emergencies or heart, cancer, kidney, and diabetic specialists,” said UMA President Dr Richard Idro in the letter.