In April, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a company constructing the intensive unit at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital halted the works due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
The Shs10 billion project was meant to be completed by the October 1 and it would have in place a Neonatal unit, intensive care unit, a state of the art operating theatre, an health institute and a standard maternity wing with 50 beds in spacing of two meters each to guard against the spread of infectious diseases.
According to Dr James Elima, the director of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, the facility is currently being overwhelmed with demand for quality health services.
“It is unfortunate that we had already demolished part of the maternity ward and theatre and now we are operating in a very limited space something that is affecting our services,” Dr Elima said.
At the moment, the hospital is relying on the support of other private health facilities in the sub-region to bridge the wide gap created due to halted of the project.
“Apparently, we are doing an average of 30 to 35 operations daily of which 10 to 15 are major unlike in the past where we could even do up to 100 operations,” he added.
Dr Elima said other patients are now seeking redress from other health facilities such as St Mary’s Hospital Lacor.
We were unable to get a comment from Japan International Cooperation Agency by press time. According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund – UNICEF report, 226,000 babies in Uganda are born too soon each year and 12,500 of them under five years die due to direct preterm complications.
World Health Organisation statistics indicate that 15 million children born worldwide every year are preterm cases with sub-Saharan African countries including Uganda being the most affected. Uganda ranks 13th out of 184 countries with the highest number of babies born early and 11th for new-born deaths due to preterm birth complications.
further reporting by Daily Monitor
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