Edward Abitegeka painfully watched his wife die at Hoima referral Hospital after the oxygen cylinder was grabbed from her because he could not pay for it. He had paid 400,000/- for four days and could not afford the next payments and when contacted, district officials said they had heard of the allegations that Covid-19 patients were being charged for oxygen by hospital authorities, they promised to investigate the matter.
Hoima district has been hit hard by the second wave of Covid 19 with more than 965 cases as of Thursday this week and the demand for oxygen has created an opportunity for some medical workers to extort money from Covid 19 patients.
Abitegeka Kyomuhendo Edward a resident of Kikwatamigo village in the east division is convinced that his wife Florence Night would have lived for more days if he had had the money to pay for oxygen at the covid 19 treatment unit at Hoima regional referral hospital.
Abitegeka claims, that while he was able to pay the 400,000/- for the first four days, on the fifth day he had run out of money to pay for the oxygen. According to him, a one Milton removed the oxygen cylinder from his wife who later passed on after a few minutes.
When we contacted the hospital administration, they confirmed that they had an employee called Milton who is in charge of supplying oxygen to the covid 19 treatment unit.
The demand for oxygen at the referral hospital is also believed to be the reason private clinics are selling oxygen to patients at the referral hospital after purchasing it illegally from the hospital. But to Hoima regional referral hospital, they have signed a memorandum of understanding to sell oxygen to private clinics.
A critically covid 19 patients needs between 3-5 oxygen cylinders a day according to the health practitioners. And with a shortage of oxygen in Hoima referral hospitals, patients have been encouraged to get oxygen from any clinic. This has now become a lucrative business for private clinics and has forced Hoima City task force to suspend the selling of oxygen by the regional referral hospital to private clinics.
with the raising cases of covid 19 in hoima the lucrative business might grow and the poor get exposed to suffering and death.