By Steven Enatu
The main laboratory at the Kaberamaido district Hospital has been closed for two weeks now after all laboratory staff tested Covid 19 positive leaving patients stranded.
This was confirmed by this website yesterday 11th January when our reporter visited the facility and found it closed.
Joseph Esiru, the facility administrator at Kaberamaido District Hospital attributed the closure to two major events.
He said the ongoing strike by lab technicians and medical record officers in public hospitals is one factor and the biggest being that 100% of the laboratory staff tested positive to covid-19.
“Referral to the hospitals and emergencies are being handled but only the routine laboratory operation has been affected. When we tested our lab staff about two weeks ago, 100% of the staff tested positive except one intern student, they are on home base care,” he said.
He said the facility then sought for the laboratory technician from Ochero Health center three to open the laboratory twice a week together with the intern student.
“In normal protocol you don’t expect sick people with the virus to work, we engaged the District Health Officer to have Ronald from Ochero here to boost the intern student at the lab so it’s not true that it’s been closed,” he said.
But our independent verification found out that the facility lab is closed and patients are being sent out to carry tests. Also the pharmacy department in the facility was closed by press time.
Esiru defended this saying that the industrial action by lab technicians and medical record officers has not stopped and as the facility administrator, he has no authority over it.
Consequently, desperate Ugandan patients in Kaberamaido turn to privately owned laboratories and clinics to seek medical services.
Many patients are turned to privately owned Lubangaber Community hospital and Emmanuel clinic for medical attention where they are charged fees ranging from 15,000shs for CBC test and other common tests like for malaria, typhoid.
The facility that was elevated by the government of Uganda from a health center IV status to a general hospital effective 2019 still grapples with numerous challenges ranging from human resource and low finances to run it effectively.