Govt probes Mulago over deaths

Kampala. The government has instituted a special committee to investigate the alleged death of six patients at Mulago hospital due to reported shortage of oxygen.

Health minister Ruhakana Rugunda told Parliament on Tuesday that the Director General of Health services, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, will head the probe.

Lubaga North MP Moses Kasibante had earlier, raising a matter of national importance, told Parliament that three people, including, Zaituni Nakawuki, Mariam Awor and Nicholas Kiiga died because the hospital had no oxygen and three others died later.

“Six patients were subjected to oxygen tubes in ward 3B but eventually the cylinder ran out of oxygen and they never had any more. The patients started dying one by one,” he said.

“Oxygen is a basic necessity for life, why does the national referral hospital go without oxygen?” Mr Kasibante asked.

But authorities at Mulago said only three people died after they were admitted to the hospital’s emergency ward while they were critically ill.“Since November 22, 2013, Mulago has been manufacturing its own oxygen ever since we commissioned a Shs2 billion oxygen plant and we have more oxygen than we need. There are oxygen points in most of the wards,” said the Mulago spokesperson, Mr Enock Kusasira.

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago also claimed his niece, Zaituni Nakauki, who was suffering from respiratory complications, was put on a life support machine but died instantly and so did three others who were sharing two oxygen cylinders.

But Mr Kusasira said Nakawuki had a history of heart failure with 75 per cent breathing failure and was immediately put on oxygen after which she died.

Mulago’s woesRevelations. A surgical camp conducted by US-based philanthropist Michael Haglund last year showed Mulago’s inadequacy to offer quality health care as it failed to avail basic theatre requirements.

Hiccups: In the past, Mulago’s intensive care unit failed to operate due to lack of oxygen or breakdown of equipment. In labour wards, insufficient incubators caused the death of babies butt hospital authorities blame the lapses on meagre funds.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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