By: GEORGE MUZOORA
Masindi: Masindi District authorities have introduced cost-sharing on x-ray services at Masindi Hospital. The hospital is charging Shs5,000 per person accessing x-ray services.
Authorities say the fee is intended to pay the radiographer who was hired by the district. The matter was recently approved by the district council as a short-term measure to address the problem of lack of a radiographer and save the public from paying exorbitant dues to private practitioners.
The position of radiographer fell vacant following the death of Wilson Angwandiya. Masindi District vice chairperson Kanaginagi Ateenyi, who is also the leader of government business in the district, said they have not been able to recruit another radiographer because the government slapped a ban on new recruitment.
However, Mr Kanaginagi, is worried that barely two months after the introduction of the scheme, there are people confusing the public that all services at the hospital are no longer free.
“Some people are misleading others that the Shs5,000 is paid at the gate which is not true,” Mr Kanaginagi said. However, in what seemed to be a contradiction, the hospital superintendent, Dr George Bateganya, said the x-ray cost-sharing scheme has failed to start because the private radiographer they wanted to hire asked for Shs1.2 million per month which the hospital cannot raise.
“It is very difficult to raise Shs1.2 million because the demand for x-ray services is very low,” Dr Bateganya said.
Other challenges at the hospital
Understaffing is one of the main challenges Masindi Hospital is facing. The hospital is supposed to have 11 medical doctors but only four are available. The patients stay in dilapidated wards, mainly the male ward, whose ceiling is almost crumbling. Masindi Hospital is on the list of hospitals to be renovated by government but work has not yet started. The hospital also experiences electricity supply interruptions. However, Dr Bateganya said the hospital continues to cope.