Over the weekend, Jinja Referral hospital was in total blackout, with several departments paralysed and patients being turned away to private facilities if they are to receive any medical attention.
The situation followed the hospital running out of electricity credit on Saturday December 8, 2018.
According to confidential reports obtained by Nile Post, Jinja Hospital could have averted the situation as they have an operation relationship with power distributor Umeme, however, they chose a short cut through the media.
The Hospital authorities were warned earlier by Umeme customer desk that their currency units were running out and needed to replenish but they turned deaf ear until there was total black out.
“The Jinja Hospital administrator was informed a week ago that the credit units were running out, however, he threatened to run to the media if the black out happened. He would later do the same,” a source that requested anonymity told Nile Post.
When contacted for a comment, the hospital principle administrator, Mr Muhammad Mubiru, denied having made any comments to the media despite earlier comments made through our correspondent.
According to Umeme, the hospital, just like any other government institutions and agencies on the prepaid billing system, have an understanding where they can negotiate for credit replenishing in case they don’t have ready money to clear.
“These (agencies) never have money at hand and we have a general understanding because we know it is government and they will pay any time. So when they notice they are running low on credit, they communicate to us to replenish at a negotiated rate and this also follows several reminders from our end,” Umeme spokesperson, Mr Steven Illungole told Nile Post.
Illungole confirmed that the hospital’s administration had been reminded earlier to put in a requisition for a week to ensure the credit does not run out but those he left in charge did not care until the bulbs burnt out, before entering a panicky situation.
“Umeme operates professionally and we can’t switch off power in a hospital facility. Even health centres that are not on prepaid billing, we don’t disconnect vital areas like theatres and wards, we only take off power at staff quarters and administration offices. Those on prepaid billing, always have an opportunity to tell us in time when they are running out and we top up for them- pending payment,” Illungole said.
Nile Post reliably understands that the 2-day power blackout didn’t result into any deaths. Our reporter tired to contact the Hospital Director Dr Edward Nkurunziza but our reported phone calls went unanswered.
Jinja regional Referral hospital serves all the 10 districts in Busoga Subregion and other neighbouring districts like Buikwe, Kayunga and Buvuma