The Intensive Care Unit-ICU at Lira Hospital is operating without specialized staff.
A report presented to the Parliamentary COVID_19 Task Force shows that the ICU has 3 doctors, 2 medical officers, 2 specialists ICU nurses and 6 support staff.
An ideal intensive care unit requires doctors with a speciality in anesthetics, cardiology and emergency medicine. It also needs physiotherapists, dieticians, speech therapists and nurses.
The role of nurses is however limited to delivery of medicines, prescribed by the doctors and monitoring blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels.
However, the ICU at Lira Referral Hospital does not have all the specialists needed to keep it functional. Stephen Obbo, the Director of Lira Regional Referral Hospital says that the ICU requires over 12 nurses, a physician, and an anesthesiologist.
However, the total number of nursing staff required by an ICU depends on many variables such as the total number of patients, severity of illness of patients, as well as individual policies for support and monitoring in the unit.
Obbo also says that the facility lacks funds to purchase fuel for the Ambulances that transport COVID patients to the hospital.
Polah Judith Namubiru, the Senior Principal Nursing Officer at the Hospital explained that the staffing challenge at the ICU can be addressed solved when more nurses are trained on ICU care. She explains that eight nurses are currently undergoing training and will be posted to the hospital next month.
Doctor Francis Kiweewa, the head of treatment at Lira CTU says the hospital is struggling to treat patients because they lack medicines that include Heparin and other facilities like a laboratory and imaging facilities.
Members of the Parliamentary COVID_19 Task Force are currently moving around different parts of the country assessing COVID-19 responses and utilization of funds allocated to districts.