• Cite lack of equipment
GATSIBO — Most doctors at Ngarama Hospital in Gatsibo district have been avoiding operating on women who deliver by caesarean section because they lack proper equipment.
A doctor at the hospital said there is an acute shortage of equipment at the hospital’s theatre.
The revelation comes amid reports that three Ngarama doctors who the Police arrested last year in connection with the death of an expectant mother, Didacienne Bankundiye, have been suspended by the Rwanda Medical Council (RMC).
The doctors, Ric Kikoli, N’sapu Yamba Yamba and Anicet Mashauri were arrested last November after an operation on the said deceased woman went awry.
Dr Innocent Gakwaya, the RMC president, told Radio Rwanda on Tuesday that an investigation had found the three doctors responsible for the death of the mother and were thus suspended.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting organised to welcome German doctors at the hospital, on Monday, a doctor who gave his name only as Gahima, said the obstetrics and gynaecology departments are ill-equipped.
The German doctors have since Monday camped at the hospital to offer free medical treatment to Gatsibo residents.
Apart from the lack of equipment in the operation theatre, the hospital lacks an anaesthetist. A doctor who conducts an operation also acts as the anaesthetist, according to Gahima.
“In the theatre a doctor who conducts the operation is helped by a nurse on duty who acts as the anaesthetist,” he said.
‘Most doctors avoid caesarean operations as it is very risky because the life of the expectant mother is at risk,” he said.
“Even our own lives are at risk because you can be imprisoned for the loss of someone’s life,” he added, in apparent reference to the three doctors who were arrested and have been suspended from the medical profession. A proper operation requires a doctor and an anaesthetist.
Ngarama is Gatsibo’s referral hospital. It serves about 150,000 residents. Seven health centres around the district refer women with pregnancy complications there.
“I’ve always asked my colleagues whether they would allow their spouses to be operated there, but the answer is always negative,” Gahima says.
He explained that he had always objected to the idea of operating on patients there, but the hospital director insisted that he should, because ‘they have for long been doing it that way’.
A female nurse who Gahima refers to as an ‘anaesthetist’, and who happened to have previously helped him during operation, admits that she has never received specialised training in this field.
The reporter also found out that the hospital also lacks radioactivity equipments to carry out X-rays. Patients here wait anxiously for days to be taken to Nyagatare Hospital where the X-ray is done.
They are normally taken every Wednesdays, by the hospital’s sole ambulance, according to medical officials. In a separate interview, the hospital Director, Dr Benon Rukunda Karekezi, confirmed the lack of the mentioned equipments.
“We face a problem of inadequate equipment and personnel,” he said.
On shortage of personnel, he said there has been high turnover due to poor staff remuneration and the remoteness of the area.
Ngarama Hospital is located about 23kms from the tarmac road leading to Nyagatare. He however, said that in close conjunction with the Ministry of Health, the hospital ensures that they recruit fresh staff the moment one quits.