Police in Mbarara city and authorities at Mbarara regional referral hospital are jointly investigating the theft of an oxygen concentrator following the arrest of two hospital cleaners found in possession of this device.
An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that gives a person extra oxygen; and doctors may prescribe one if a person has a health condition that causes oxygen level to drop too low causing trouble breathing like asthma, COVID-19, lung cancer and others.
The suspects who are detained at CPS Mbarara pending trial in court include Julius Bayizire and Didas Twesigye, both cleaners at Mbarara regional referral hospital. The duo were arrested on Sunday morning, September 18, 2022 following a tip off from a neighbor across the hospital perimeter wall who saw one of the suspects (Julius) offloading an oxygen concentrator from a waste container to the incinerator.
The whistleblower (identity concealed), a charcoal dealer in TASO village says he immediately informed Joram Musanyufu, the head of cleaners at the hospital who swiftly visited the scene with hospital security and recovered the concentrator. Julius was apprehended and confessed to have had an accomplice Didas Twesigye.
According to Mr. Halson Kagure, the hospital Public Relations Officer, he engaged police that picked and detained the suspects, and they will avail police with more information about the destination of the equipment.
RISE NEWS UGANDA network can confirm that available information indicate that such stolen hospital devices, drugs and other materials are sold to private facilities – with the syndicate including some doctors at the hospital. This comes at a point where the hospital is still investigating public outcry – with some doctors being accused of conniving with private medical service providers like Doctors Plaza Mbarara and others where they refer patients from Mbarara regional referral hospital for CT SCAN and other services on payment/commission basis. Members of the public say; if you don’t use the facility where a doctor sent you, the results are rejected.
Dr. Francis Oriokot, the hospital deputy director condemned such act that could have endangered lives of many patients in the Toto ward where the concentrator had been stolen from, and other cases of misconduct that they are working tirelessly to eliminate.
The public has also been cautioned to be vigilant and report all suspicious acts including masqueraders. On August 2, 2022 police arrested a one Joshua Mugabe, the proprietor of Hosmat Medical clinic in Ntungamo who was masquerading as a medical doctor to examine patients at Mbarara RRH.
On May 2, 2022, a one Treasure Birungi was also arrested soliciting money from the public claiming that the hospital refused to attend to her mother. Hospital authorities said the mother had been treated & discharged 3 months ago.