Mbale hospital halts admission of COVID-19 patients over lack of beds


Mbale regional referral hospital administration has said it will no longer admit any more Covid-19 patients due to limited bed capacity.

The hospital currently has 16 positive Covid-19 patients admitted in its isolation centre despite earlier planning for only 10 patients. Mbale hospital director, Dr Emmanuel Tugaineyo Ituzo says, they have halted fresh admissions because the number of Covid-19 patients is beyond their bed capacity.

He says they are in the process of relocating the isolation centre to the mental unit, which has the capacity of more than 40 beds.

“However, the relocation has disrupted our mental health services. This means all patients with serious mental problems will have to be referred to Butabika national mental referral hospital.

“At the moment we are looking around for a place where we can attend to mild cases and those we have been seeing on outpatient basis,” he said.

Tugaineyo says they are currently referring new Covid-19 patients to Jinja and Soroti regional referral hospitals.

“That centre has a capacity of around 11 people. So when we have 16, it means we have gone beyond capacity at the moment. And for that matter, we have halted any further admissions of Covid cases into that centre and we have communicated this to the national task force. Most of the cases, we now refer them to other regional hospitals – Jinja, Soroti and those nearby. This is not only unique to our centre but a number of regional hospitals are also filled up. We’re sharing patients. I know Moroto still has zero patients, so patients can be picked and taken to Moroto regional referral hospital.” added Tugaineyo.

Tugaineyo allayed earlier fears about the safety of health workers at the isolation centre, saying the hospital is fully equipped with enough personal protective equipment.

“My store is actually full and we are expecting more from the National Medical Stores – NMS. There is nothing we don’t have as far as PPEs are concerned and we are taking all the precautions to make sure our staff is safe,” he said.

This is contrary to earlier revelations by Christine Lumonyo, the focal person for infection prevention and control at the same hospital, who said, that health workers at the treatment centre lack sufficient PPEs, uniforms and bedding materials for patients, which makes their work difficult.

As of June 2, Uganda’s confirmed coronavirus cases stand at 489 with 82 recoveries and no deaths. Majority of the confirmed cases are cross border truck drivers.

Health experts are predicting a spike in cases once the ban on public transport is lifted this week on June 4 which might overwhelm the under-capacity hospitals. President Yoweri Museveni in his televised address yesterday, Monday said Uganda has enough capacity to admit at least 40,000 Covid-19 patients.


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