The Intensive Care Unit-ICU at Lira Hospital is operating without specialized staff.
A report presented to the Parliamentary COVID_19 Task Force shows that the ICU has
3 doctors, 2 medical officers, 2 specialists ICU nurses and 6 support staff.
An ideal intensive care unit requires doctors with a speciality in anesthetics, cardiology and emergency medicine. It also needs
physiotherapists, dieticians, speech therapists and nurses. The role of nurses
is however limited to delivery of medicines, prescribed by the doctors and
monitoring blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels.
However, the ICU at Lira Referral Hospital does not have all the specialists
needed to keep it functional.
Stephen Obbo, the Director of Lira Regional Referral Hospital says
that the ICU requires over 12 nurses, a physician, and an anesthesiologist.
However, the total number of nursing staff required by an ICU
depends on many variables such as the total number of patients, severity of
illness of patients, as well as individual policies for support and monitoring
in the unit.
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Obbo also says that the facility lacks funds to purchase fuel for
the Ambulances that transport COVID patients to the hospital.
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Polah Judith Namubiru, the Senior Principal Nursing Officer at the
Hospital explained that the staffing challenge at the ICU can be addressed solved
when more nurses are trained on ICU care. She explains that eight nurses are
currently undergoing training and will be posted to the hospital next month.
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Francis Kiwewa, the head of treatment at Lira CTU says the hospital is struggling
to treat patients because they lack medicines that include Heparin and other
facilities like a laboratory and imaging facilities.
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Members of the Parliamentary COVID_19 Task Force are currently
moving around different parts of the country assessing COVID-19 responses and utilization of funds
allocated to districts.