Entebbe, Uganda | URN | Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital will reopen to the public next month. The hospital had closed the outpatient, dental, optical, maternal and child care departments in March last year to focus on the effective management of COVID-19 patients.
Before its closure, the hospital served a population of over one million people from within Entebbe municipality, Katabi town council, Buvuma and Kalangala districts. Muhammad Mubiru, the principal administrator Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital says management wants the hospital to reopen to the public on April 1.
The hospital will resume normal operations in a phased manner, as it will also continue handling Covid-19 cases. It will only resume full operations at the completion of the renovation works at the National isolation centre next month.
Mubiru says once the centre is completed, they will transfer all COVID-19 cases to the isolation centre. Vincent Kayanja, the Entebbe municipal mayor in a recent interview noted that he had urged the Ministry of Health on several occasions to reopen part of the hospital due to the outcry from the public.
He noted that President Yoweri Museveni did not win in the municipality in the just concluded polls because of among other factors, the closure of the hospital to the public.
The closure of the hospital has strained service delivery at Katabi and Kigungu health centres. The centres lack theatres and other vital services. This prompted the would-be clients to go to Kiruddu and Kawempe national referral hospitals, which are over 30km away from the municipality.
Mubiru says the hospital is currently preparing for a phased resumption of its operations through repairs on damaged installations such as hand washing basins, toilet cisterns and floaters and replacing beds among others. He however says that “only anti-rabies, maternal and child health services will be available because the hospital will still be handling COVID-19 patients, though in a different block.
He however says the labour ward, both general and private will remain closed because they were used as the COVID-19 treatment units.
Other departments namely dental and surgery will also remain closed, except for those provided for by the weekly mobile clinics for people living with HIV, diabetes and hypertension.
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The three mobile clinics were opened last May due to an outcry from the public particularly people with pre-existing conditions and chronic illnesses on the lack of access to medical checkup, review and drug refills. The hospital designated St. Kizito Primary School Kawuku, Kitala Primary School, Quran Primary school in Abaita Ababiri and Grade A Entebbe, next to State House to operate mobile clinics.
Stable patients with diabetes and hypertension are given drugs to last a month while those in unstable condition are given appointments to return after a week or two. Mubiru says management since last week has been meeting staff to discuss management of COVID-19 cases alongside other services.
“We also have to take stock of our staff because some retired or resigned while others were transferred during this period,” Mubiru says.