By George Muron
Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, the main coronavirus treatment facility for Teso Sub-region, yesterday announced that it had installed five Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in a bid to improve care for Covid-19 patients. The announcement came on the day Daily Monitor highlighted the crisis of ICU beds in the country as Covid-19 infections continue to spread in the various parts of the country. The newspaper reported that regional referral hospitals were stuck with ICU equipment meant for treatment of critically-ill Covid-19 patients because the health facilities lack structures in which to install them.The regional referral hospitals in Mbale, Arua and Gulu lacked functional ICU facilities and other regional hospitals despite claims by Mr George Otim, the commissioner of Health Services Infrastructure at the Health ministry, that they have established 143 ICU beds at 14 regional referral hospitals.Soroti Regional Referral Hospital yesterday sent out a tweet and announced that the installation of the five ICU beds would help improve care for Covid-19 patients and other critically ill patients though support from the Ministry of Health.It is not clear whether the installation of ICU beds at the facility was done in one day or it was ongoing by the time the Daily Monitor broke the story. Advertisement
The director of Soroti Regional Referral hospital, Dr Michael Mwanga, told Daily Monitor that they requested the beds following the shortage in the hospital.Dr Mwanga said: “Right now, we have received five beds, and they will be assembled in the ICU department for Covid-19 patients who are in critical condition.”Contradictions The director’s explanation, however, appeared to contradict the hospital tweet, which indicated that the hospital had installed five ICU beds for critically ill Covid-19 patients. Dr Wilson Etolu, the head of Covid-19 management treatment at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, also contradicted the tweet when he told Daily Monitor that they received the beds yesterday, and promised that at an appropriate time, they would be assembled for use.On account of overwhelming Covid-19 numbers, the hospital was forced to relocate mental cases from the facility to Princes Diana Health Centre IV in order to create space for Covid-19 patients. The hospital hosts Covid-19 patients from close to 10 districts of Teso Sub-region but lacked adequate specialised staff and other ICU facilities.