By Uganda Online Media
Police in the Kiira region are investigating circumstances under which at least 59 oxygen cylinders at Jinja regional referral hospital went missing.
According to reports, on Tuesday, police arrested several health workers, security guards, and drivers, whose names have been deliberately concealed for pending investigations.
Kiira regional police spokesperson, James Mubi confirmed the arrest saying the suspects are locked up at Jinja central police station for interrogation.
The missing cylinders were majorly supplied by National Medical Stores-NMS while some were donated by well-wishers to boost efforts in managing severe COVID-19 cases throughout the Busoga sub-region between 2020 and 2021.
According to a source who preferred anonymity revealed that most of the essential footage, which would help police to identify the prime suspects was deleted from the hospital CCTV servers.
The source further added that most of the senior doctors and nurses attached to the hospital don’t allow security guards to check their vehicles during their arrival and departure from hospital premises, making it hard for them to avoid the theft of hospital equipment and drugs.
According to records, the hospital had 110 cylinders but some of them disappeared in thin air with no trace in September last year.
“We made an audit on these cylinders early this year and we discovered that dozens of them were missing under unclear circumstances. But most of our superiors denied knowledge about the disappearance of such essential hospital equipment,” a source revealed.
Meanwhile, some health workers revealed that their colleagues took advantage of the laxity within the hospital administration to steal the cylinders.
“Our former director, Dr. Florence Tugumisirize took long to vacate office despite clocking her retirement age in early December. She continued staying and created unprecedented power struggles with more attention directed towards pushing her out of the hospital, rather than focusing on safeguarding hospital equipment and fending for the wellbeing of patients,” One of the health workers said
James Mubi further noted that police inquiries are still in their primary stage, adding that they will avail the media with a conclusive report after completing their investigations.