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Men Sleep in Women's Ward in Lira.

Agnes Abeja whose 3-year-old daughter is admitted at the ward says she is forced to go back home every time she wants to take a bathe because she cannot change her clothes in a room shared with strange men.
Ober HCIII

Audio 4



Men and women admitted at Ober HCIII in Lira city now sleep in the same ward.

The anomaly became the norm when it was decided to dedicate the male ward to male circumcision activities, a situation that has alarmed many people including health minister Jane Ruth Aceng who visited the facility last week.

Even children are admitted to the same ward, subjecting their mothers and female caregivers to the inconvenience of sleeping in the same room with strange men.

Moreover more people now flock to the facility after Lira Regional Referral Hospital suspended the services of its outpatient department.

Agnes Abeja whose 3-year-old daughter is admitted at the ward says she is forced to go back home every time she wants to take a bathe because she cannot afford to change her clothes in a room shared with strange men.

“My home is like 2kms away from here and I spend 4000/- on transport every time I go back home. These are strangers, people I have never met before so there is no way I will change my clothes before them. If my daughter wasn’t admitted I would not even be sleeping here in the first place.”

Nelson Omara, on the other hand is not bothered about the fact that they are sharing wards. All he cares about is healing and going back home.

“Sharing the ward with these women is not a problem to me because we are all looking for the same thing which is healing and it is not like we shall be staying in this condition forever.”

Jimmy Aner, the Chairperson Health Unit Management Committee for Ober Health center III appealed to the Ministry to upgrade the facility into a Health center IV since it serves all the people across Lango.

He explained that the facility lacks space for expansion, the reason why patients are sharing a ward to create space for circumcision. 

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Tamali Odida, the in charge of the facility says although the facility has structures which can manage the current situation, it has been overwhelmed with clients seeking medical attention ever since the government declared a lockdown.

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During a Technical Support Supervision last week, the Minister for Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng expressed concern over the use of infrastructures built in these health facilities citing the ward which is being shared by both gender at Ober HCIII.

“What we have seen is that this facility is not utilizing the infrastructures like the wards well and what has annoyed us the most is the mixing of both male and female patients together in one ward yet the ward that these people would have been placed in has been turned into a circumcision room.”

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The Minister was bitter at the fact that a ward which should have been used by one gender is being used as a circumcision room.

“The in charge should ensure that this is corrected immediately. Erect a tent outside there for circumcision services and leave the male ward for the male patients because really, if you are a woman, how do you change in a room where men are also sleeping... and even the men…. how do they dress up?”

Dr. Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health warned the health workers against misusing the facilities’ infrastructures ostensibly to improve service delivery to the patients.

She said if the lower level health facilities were utilizing their infrastructures well, patients will not flock to the regional referral hospital seeking for the same services.

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