Posted by: zdy1 | 9 June, 2009

Mbarara Hospital

The last few weeks have involved a lot of travelling around and getting the house sorted. But as of 10 days ago I was able to eventually start work at the hospital.

Mbarara University Hospital is just on the outskirts of Mbarara Town. It was originally built for 200 patients but today has 600 beds and many more patients than that. Uganda has one of the highest population growths in the world (3.60% compared to 0.28% in the UK) and so hospitals such as this one can only expect to be seeing a constant growth in the number of people demanding their services. To say it is already at capacity is understating the situation.

It is a “Regional Referral Hospital” catering for patients from all over South West Uganda and neighbouring Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania and is seeking to become one of three “National Hospitals” in the country.

The hospital does have many of the various specialities that you would expect to see in a hospital of this size: Emergency wing, Burns ward, ITU, Medical ward, Surgical ward (and theatre), Obs & Gynae, Maternity, Paediatrics, Nutrition, Various Outpatient clinics, Physio, OT, Psychiatry, Prosthetics/Orthotics, Radiology. However one of the problems is that the people and equipment resources don’t fit the service requirements. I worked for a while in a similar sized hospital in the UK. There we had over 70 physios, here I make the number up to 3. The ITU has 2 beds with a couple of old ventilators but limited other equipment. The surgical ward has dozens of patients waiting for operations but the theatre staff are regularly unable to operate as there may not be oxygen or anaesthetic drugs or gloves.

There appear to be many issues facing the hospital but there are also lots of things to learn. My colleagues in the physio department and on the wards have much more practice in critical prioritisation of work than I would ever need to do in the UK. Although I want to be a resource and involved in developing the services, I am also keen to learn from them.

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