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Lack of Experts, Equipment Dents X-ray Services :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Lack of Experts, Equipment Dents X-ray Services

With an average of 100 patients in need of radiography services each day, Jinja regional referral hospital has only one radiographer, whose capacity to deal with the demand is overstretched. Uganda, with a population of 37 million people has a total of 42 radiographers, 32 of which are based in the capital Kampala.

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The lack of appropriate X-ray machines in major hospitals across Busoga region in Eastern Uganda is denying the population access to radiography and imaging services.

Uganda Radio Network visited four hospitals in Kamuli, Bugiri, Iganga and Jinja districts in a survey which established a general lack of equipment and a shortage of radiographers to meet both the demand and provide expert interpretation of data.

According to Uganda\'s health policy, one X-ray machine should be maintained at the level of a General Hospital, serving 200,000 - 300,000 patients. However, with health priorities in rural areas more focused on prevention of infectious diseases, imaging services are less prioritized, creating a gap in service provision.

Dr. Michael Osinde, the director of Jinja regional referral hospital says the hospital needs better equipment to replace the existing old, worn-out machines, and more radiographers to handle the patient numbers from across the region.

With an average of 100 patients in need of radiography services each day, Jinja regional referral hospital has only one radiographer, whose capacity to deal with the demand is overstretched.  Uganda, with a population of 37 million people has a total of 42 radiographers, 32 of which are based in the capital Kampala.

Dr. Robert Isabirye, Kamuli hospital medical director says the hospital has failed to raise shs 2.5 million to repair its X-ray machine which went down last year.  Dr Isabirye says at least 30 of the hospital\'s patients have been referred to Jinja on a weekly basis.

One of them is Dorcus Naigobya, a resident of Namaira village in Kamuli who was last week referred to Jinja after failing to secure services at Kamuli to check her fractured hip and ribs. She says x- ray services are needed at Kamuli hospital to save the patients from unnecessary costs that arise out of the referrals.

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Dr. Steven Waako, the Iganga hospital medical director says the number of patients at Iganga hospital overwhelms the radiography machines. Coupled with insufficient power and outages, only 10 patients can be worked on out of an average of 25 cases per day.

Olivia Kwagala, the Iganga Woman Member of Parliament says pleas to have a better machine and at least two radiographers have so far yielded no fruit.

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Research indicates that non-use of or poor imaging services leads to wrong diagnosis and treatment, unnecessary health expenditures, and poor health outcomes.

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