Patients Stranded as Only Doctor Resigns

1344 Views Soroti, Uganda

In short
Despite the overwhelming number of patients, Princess Diana Memorial Health Centre IV is severely understaffed.

Patients seeking treatment at Princess Diana Memorial Health Centre IV in Soroti Municipality are stuck following the resignation of the only doctor there. Dr. Daniel Esongu, the in charge of Princess Diana Memorial Health Centre IV resigned recently citing the expiry of his contract in September last year.  Dr Ensongu has already left work saying he is at his home pondering his next move. According to some sources Dr. Esongu quit after going three months without pay. It is also alleged that only four health workers out of 40 staff of the health center have been receiving their salaries.

Princess Diana Memorial Health Centre IV, which was constructed to help decongest Soroti referral hospital, on average receives 160 patients each day. Despite the overwhelming number of patients, Princess Diana Memorial Health Centre IV is severely understaffed. Our reporter visited Princess Diana Memorial Health Centre IV on Friday evening, but there was no one to administer treatment to patients despite the fact that some of them had stayed in the queue from morning to 7pm. Attendants to patients with acute illnesses sat in the health center compound helplessly while waiting for the doctor to show up in vain. Caroline Akello, a resident of Camp swahili ward in Northern Division broke down in tears after her 9-months-old baby collapsed with no medical personnel to attend to her. 

The baby was later rushed to Soroti Regional referral hospital. 40-year-old Betty Alupo, a mother from Aloet Akuma Village in Arapai Sub County told URN that despite the fact that her child was admitted at 9:00am on Friday she had waited for the doctor to show up in vain. Our reporter saw 9 children who were in critical condition being transferred to other medical facilities after waiting for health personnel for several hours without success. One of the health workers who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity says that other staffs at the health center have lost moral of working because of nonpayment of their salaries. Dr. Bosco Ojur, the acting Soroti Principal Medical officer says that he has not yet received the resignation letter of Dr. Daniel Esongu. He admits to have heard about the resignation in passing.


About the author

Salume Among
Salume Among is the Mbale URN bureau chief. Among has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Among started her career in 2000 as a freelance writer for Etop newspaper before starting to write for its mother paper, The New Vision. She also wrote for the Vision Group's XFM radio station from 2008 until she left to join URN.

Among has a keen interest in local politics having been a youth representative in the Soroti variously between 1996 and 2010. Among also regularly reports on health, education, the environment and sports.