Hoima hospital serves Bunyoro (mid-western region) and part of central Uganda including the Hoima, Masindi, Kiryandongo, Buliisa, Kibaale, Kyankwanzi, and Kiboga districts and a steadily increasing number of patients coming from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Over 60 percent of expectant mothers in these areas deliver their babies at the facility. Dr Francis Mulwanyi, the Hoima Regional Referral hospital director says many mothers walk home in sorrow since their newly born babies die at the facility due to lack of oxygen.

Although he could not provide statistics for the neonatal mortality rates, Mulwanyi said the death rates are worrying.

He explains that many babies aged between 0-28 days need oxygen however, the Kangaroo ward at the hospital has only one Oxygen Concentrator that can accommodate only three babies yet over 10 babies are admitted at the ward on a daily babies.

Mulwanyi adds that although the hospital has oxygen cylinders, it’s costly for them to maintain them since they can only be refilled from Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.

He made the revelation during the launch of Empango marathon that will see its proceeds used to buy an oxygen concentrator for the Kangaroo ward at Hoima hospital.

The race will be held on 9th June in celebration of the 22nd coronation anniversary of the Omukama of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Dr. Solomon Iguru Gafabusa. The Omukama was enthroned on 11th June 1994.

Launching the event, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister Norman Lukumu courageously called upon people to participate in the race to improve the health standards among newly born babies in Bunyoro sub region.

He noted that the King will flag off the 10km run that starts at 7am. Princess Olivier Kabasindi will be the chief runner.

Those who wish to take part in the race will pay a registration fee of 10,000 and this can be paid via mobile number 0772506445. (Edgar Agaba the race organizing committee).
By Vincent Senyunja.