Private Clinics on the Spot for Employing Inexpereinced Lab Technicians

1228 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Faith Mugenyi, a resident of Fort Portal says two weeks ago, she took his son to a private clinic for a lab test. The lab results indicated that he was suffering from brucellosis.

Proprietors of private clinics in Fort Portal are on the spot for allegedly employing inexperienced lab technicians, which leads to wrong test results.

As a result, some patients end up the wrong medication, leading to side effects. Faith Mugenyi, a resident of Fort Portal says two weeks ago, she took his son to a private clinic for a lab test. The lab results indicated that he was suffering from brucellosis.

However, a day after his son's condition worsened and was taken to Fort Portal referral hospital, where doctors realized that he was given wrong medication and that he didn't have brucellosis. Mugenyi says that his son was given multiple drugs which made him weak.

//Cue in: "it's most important…
Cue out: "…right drugs given to them.

Some of the private clinics visited by Uganda Radio network have laboratories that are of low standards, which endangers the life of e patients.The laboratories lack water and electricity and are housed in makeshift and uncompleted structures.

Last week, police in Fort Portal arrested three herbalists who were wrongfully operating laboratory services and closed their clinics.  Dr. Steven Baguma, who is attached to the out patients department at Fort Portal Referral hospital says that they receive more than 15 patients a week with side effects resulting from wrong medication.

Baguma says that some private clinics are set up without following the right procedures and employ inexperienced lab technicians who are after making money.

He says that even if a patient is suffering from malaria, they will give the results indicating another illness because its treatment is more expensive than that of Malaria.
Baguma advises patients to test from more than one laboratory, which gives chance to correct any human error or technical problems.

Francis Magezi, the western region supervisor of the Allied Health Professionals Council of Uganda says that the council's requirement and procedures for opening a private clinic are that the clinic should be registered by the council, must have an annual practicing license to carry out laboratory services and the staff must have a working experience of four years and above.

Magezi says that few private clinics in the Rwenzori region have qualified lab technicians and operate legally. Asked why the clinics operating illegally aren't closed, Magezi admits failure on part of the council, but says that they will start a crackdown on illegal private clinics. 

Last month, the Ministry of Health said it was in the process of introducing a new law, the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services Bill, to regulate laboratories. The proposed legislation is now before the first parliamentary counsel for drafting.

The new law suggests a punishment of jail and de-registration of errant medical practitioners. The ministry is also working on the Indigenous and Complementary Medicines Bill, specifically designed for herbalists who wrongfully engage in laboratory services.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.