Kisoro Hospital Overwhelmed By Refugee Influx
By Libino Byamukama
Kisoro district local government top leadership has resolved to petition the office of the prime minister for neglecting the district in the current period when its population has more than tripled due to hosting refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The resolution was made on Monday in an emergency meeting between district administrators, Kisoro hospital top leadership and representatives from humanitarian agencies at Kisoro hospital boardroom to ascertain the cause of deaths among refugees and how to control them.
According the Kisoro hospital acting medical superintendent Nkunda Benon, seven children of Congolese origin have died of malnutrition in the last two weeks while three women have died while in labour. He says that the major cause of the deaths is because the hospital has been overwhelmed by numbers that makes monitoring of patients limited by the available health workers.
The Kisoro district Health Officer Dr. Steven Nsabiyumva says that the work load for health workers has gone beyond capacity due to refugees who get transfers from Nyakabande holding centre and those in the communities.
He said that the majority of the children are dying because they sleep on verandas while they are also hungry. He blamed the office of the Prime Minister (OPM) that has banned interested organisations to support the over 50,000 refugees that still live in the communities.
He also revealed that refugees are joining the holding centre from communities to look for health care but they again get transferred to Kisoro hospital when their situations have worsened.
He said that he has folded his arms until an outbreak happens and the ministry of health comes in because he has been ignored by both UNHCR and OPM yet the government budget to the hospital has never been increased.
However, the Kisoro district UNHCR team leader, Ongwang Jimmy rubbished allegations that UNHCR is reluctant to support the health department because it funds and supervises all humanitarian agencies in the district.
The Kisoro Chief administrative officer (CAO), Hajji Badru Mayanja cautioned agencies against operating out of the government laid structures if their work must be recognised by the district. He said that he will not tolerate disconnected organisations and civil servants who abscond from duty.
The angry Kisoro district LCV Chairman, Abel Bizimana said that he will not watch and see his people die of poor service delivery due to refugees who have been neglected by the office of the prime minister.
Among other resolutions made include, auditing the staffing gap at Kisoro hospital, establishing a well stocked nutrition clinic, CAO to begin a recruitment process and advocating for direct relief to asylum seekers outside camps and host communities.