Kwania, Uganda | URN | Patients at Aduku Health Center IV in Kwania district in Northern Uganda have no choice but share a General Ward with dead bodies due to lack of a mortuary.
Aduku Health Center IV, a Kwania health sub district hospital that serves Kwania and patients from the neighboring Kole, Apac and Dokolo districts receives over 900 patients on a monthly basis according to the report from the Outpatients Department. However the facility operates without mortuary.
The district hospital has been operating since 2002 with residents having to take the remains of their relatives to Apac main hospital mortuaries or forced to bury quickly.
The hospital administrators say they are sometimes forced to release dead bodies quickly to their relatives for burial while some dead bodies are being kept at the General Ward with patients.
A health worker told this publication on condition of anonymity that at least five bodies had been handed over to their relatives for burial over the past two days after being kept in a general ward for nearly three days.
Mike Ngura, a resident of Abongomola trading center says lack of a mortuary has caused panic at the facility as both patients and health workers fear going to the general ward where the bodies are being kept. He wants government to immediately come to their rescue and construct a mortuary before the 2021 general elections.
Another resident Annet Atim said the absence of a mortuary at the facility has left a big service gap to the community. She has asked the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng to take up the matter with seriousness.
Dr. Moses Ebong, the Kwania District Health Officer also confirmed the challenge saying since the government facility was upgraded to a health center IV status in 2002, the issue of a mortuary has been a problem.
“We have tentatively resolved to hand over dead bodies to relatives quickly since there is no mortuary. But sometimes when the close relatives of the deceased are not around, we keep the dead bodies in a general ward,’’ he said.
Dr. Ebong however said the issue of the mortuary has been included in the five-year District Development Plan to build the modern mortuary facility to address the challenge.
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However, George Akaca, a public health expert says sharing the ward with dead bodies possesses a great health risk to the public especially the patients at the facility.
Basil Okello Onac, the Kwania district LCV chairman says they have already forwarded the challenges in the health sector especially the absence of a mortuary to the line Ministry for redress.
Okello reiterated that lack of a mortuary has crippled service delivery, and appealed to donors to assist in the construction of a mortuary at Aduku Health Center IV.