Lack of delivery beds at Entebbe Hospital leaves MPs in shock

Members of Parliament sitting in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) were left in shock after it emerged that Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital does not have a single delivery bed.

Officials from the hospital, led by Dr John Bosco Nsubuga, the Acting Director, and Richard Tumwesigye, the Senior Hospital Administrator, appeared before the committee on Tuesday, 28 May 2024 to respond to queries raised in the Auditor General's report for the financial year ended 30 June 2023.

The committee Deputy Chairperson, Hon. Gorreth Namugga, and other MPs expressed shock at the disclosure by the Auditor General that a hospital in an urban part of the country did not have a delivery bed for mothers and only two incubators for premature babies.

The Auditor General noted that the maternity ward at Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital operates without delivery beds with the surgical recovery bed  improvised to deliver an average of 20 children a  day. 
“The accounting officer explained that whereas Entebbe Maternity wing delivers an average of 650 women each month, which is equivalent to 4,287 deliveries per year, it is grossly underfunded with a ceiling of approximately Shs200 million. This amount is inadequate to procure new or additional medical equipment, or even repair,” the Auditor General noted in his report.

AUDIO Namugga 

Namugga, wondered how mothers were delivering without the beds. She also blamed women working in the facility for their failure to influence policy and ensure the facility got a delivery bed.
“Mothers here, how can Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital fail to have at least one delivery bed? The auditor notes that it has contributed to the mortality rate at the hospital. Director, where do you take your wife to give birth? Can you take your wife to such a place to give birth?” she said.

Ibanda County North Member of Parliament, Hon. Xavier Kyooma said that although the Government procures the beds, it is the responsibility of the hospital to show the need. He also tasked the hospital leadership to provide evidence that they have been frequently contacting the Ministry of Health on the issue of the bed.

The hospital administrator, Tumwesigye said that when the facility was used as a treatment centre for COVID-19, they used a lot of chemicals to spray, which caused corrosion of many pieces of equipment, including delivery beds.
“When they became a hazard, we removed them and unfortunately, we are unable to replace them because of the inadequate budget. So that is why we are using the surgical recovery bed, and we are looking forward to getting funds to procure state-of-the-art delivery beds,” he said.

When the Deputy Chairperson inquired about the cost of the beds, the hospital Director, Nsubuga, stated that it costs between Shs1.2 million and 3.8 million. 

This left legislators  wondering why a fundraiser has not been organised, especially if there is a delay from the ministry.

Nsubuga added that they have engaged the Ministries of Health and Finance several times to make sure the hospital gets delivery beds.
“We have also engaged other stakeholders like the Rotary Club of Entebbe and Save the Children, lobbying for assistance in key areas like theatre and maternal child health intervention,” he said.
. He also told the committee that in the next financial year, they have requested funds to purchase at least 12 delivery beds.

AUDIO Nsubuga

The committee also faulted the hospital for having only two incubators. According to the Auditor General, this has affected the quality of healthcare delivery and is an inherent risk that contributes to child mortality.
“I observed that the Referral Hospital has two incubators for 4,287 annual deliveries, with babies in critical conditions often sharing incubators contrary to the standard specifications as designed by the manufacturers. Refer to the tables below,” the report reads.