Lack of bio-medical engineers hampers service delivery in Greater Masaka

RAKAI– Frequent breakdown of medical equipment in the hospitals in the Greater Masaka districts of Rakai, Kalisizo, and Lyantonde is hindering effective service delivery, thanks to the lack of bio-medical engineers in the hospitals.

According to the directors of Rakai, Kalisizo, and Lyantonde hospitals, their hospitals do not have their own bio-medical engineers to repair the fault apparatus like; micro-scopes, fridges, x-lays, and air-conditioners, leaving some patients unattended to.

Rakai hospital director, Happy Tukirinawe explained that the hospital needs a bio-medical engineer to repair equipment like; oxygen concentrators, microscopes, and fridges that keep our medicines.

”We lose a lot of expensive drugs whenever the fridges break down,” he said adding that faulty  tools demoralise the medical workers who want to provide best service to the patients.

He said there is only one biomedical engineer stationed at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital. He said, “The biomedical engineer comes to Rakai hospital on a quarterly basis and at times he doesn’t come.”

”If these machines can be repaired, they will make the work of doctors easier, especially in the laboratories, pediatric wards, maternity wards,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lyantonde hospital director, Fred Katakanya has asked government to provide each hospital with at least one biomedical engineer to service the machines, saying that the machines, especially those in the theatres need daily maintenance.

Katakanya added: ”The x-ray at my hospital has spent six months unrepaired after it broke down and remember that most of the equipment get spoilt easily the moment you delay to service them.”

However, biomedical engineering students from Kyambogo University under their association have started moving to various hospitals in the southern and western regions to repair faulty medical equipment.

Rakai hospital director Tukirinawe welcomed the initiative of the students, urging government to invest in producing more biomedical engineers to serve in the hospitals and health centres that are being constructed across the country.

The Chairperson of Kyambogo University Association of Biomedical Students, Job Okurut wants government to attach biomedical engineering students to government health facilities so that they boost service delivery, even though he added government must provide accommodation and remunerate the attached students.

He said maintaining the equipment in hospitals is a risky job. “Generally safety is very key. When maintaining medical equipment, we suffer infections and walk away with viruses,” he said.

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