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After Drugs and Microscopes, Arua Hospital Thieves now Target X-Ray, Ambulance and Babies

Last week, three staff of Arua Regional Referral Hospital were arrested over theft of digital X-ray machine components which were used to secure a loan from a town money lender, and now yet another newborn baby has been stolen from the hospital, its whereabouts still unknown.
Arua Referal Hospital (Courtesy Photo)

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Last week, three staff of Arua Regional Referral Hospital were arrested over the alleged theft of digital X-ray machine components to secure a loan. According to police investigations, one of the suspects took the components that include a laptop and a Samsung Galaxy tablet to Furaha Link ventures limited, a financial institution in Arua City to secure a loan of 1.2 Million Shillings.

In December last year, five staff of the hospital were arrested over the theft of an Ambulance. The Toyota Land Cruiser Ambulance registration number UG 6812M disappeared from the hospital parking yard on the night of Saturday, March 27, 2021, and has since not been recovered.

Meanwhile, in February last year, an Autoclave machine and assorted tool kit worth Shillings 500 million went missing and was later recovered from Nebbi District.

Similarly, earlier in 2008, two microscopes were reported missing from the facility.

Such puzzling incidents have left stakeholders wondering if the blatant equipment theft will ever cease at the referral hospital.

In  an interview with the URN on Wednesday, the hospital director, Dr. Filbert Nyeko, said theft of equipment is a chronic problem at the facility and blamed it on the overstaying of some health workers at the facility.

He said out of 300 health workers at the facility, more than half of the staff have on averaged worked at the facility between 10 to 15 years without been transferred.

//Cue in; “Who is stealing  ….//

Cue out…. comes first.”//

According to the Public Service Standing Orders, a civil servant may be transferred within civil service after staying in a position for at least three years.

Dr. Sam Okuonzi, the hospital’s board chairperson, agrees with Nyeko, reasoning that some health workers had become errant due to overstaying at some work stations.

//Cue in; “theft is actually a way of life ….//

Cue out…. That hospital.”//

Meanwhile, Ayivu East Constituency MP Geoffrey Feta observes that the persistence of theft at the facility is due to lack of internal supervision which he says is being explored by some unscrupulous staff to steal equipment.

He says there seems to be a syndicate of staff who are purposefully steeling medical equipment from the hospital.

//Cue in; “if you look at the case of the autoclave machine ….//

Cue out…. supervisors and their bosses.”//

Besides theft of equipment, the hospital over the past years has been grappling with theft of newly born babies. In another unfortunate incident, a newly born baby was stolen on Saturday morning at the hospital by a woman who is still at large, and the baby has not been recovered.

According to records at the police Child and Family Protection Unit in West Nile region, the facility registered six cases of child theft last year.

 

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