Although desperate times call for desperate measures, people who are suffering can sometimes behave in a manner that amuses those who would like to help them, or actually who are required to help them. And so it happened last week when the Pader district chairperson Colonel Fearless Obwoya Oyat arrived at Ministry of Health Headquarters in Kampala with six Oxygen cylinders and fearlessly asked to be served.
The poor gallant veteran was desperate to save the lives of his people who have been contracting Covid-19 at an alarming rate, and could not sit back when he knows that when the patients start failing to breathe, being given oxygen can save them.
There was one problem though. Pader district does not have a hospital. The biggest treatment facility is a Health Centre IV which has neither the equipment nor the personnel, which together in short is called an intensive care unit, that can allow the administration of Oxygen to a patient.
Even if the best equipment is available in a state of the art ICU, it would still be useless in the absence of specialized personnel especially an anesthetist, a critical care nurse and of course the attending physician.
An official at the Ministry patiently explained this to the good Chairman, that oxygen is not adminsitered like any other medicine which a patient can take. The colonel was convinced that no amount of compressed medical Oxygen would be of any use to his district until it gets a proper hospital where the life sustaining gas can be administered.
The fearless colonel sadly returned to Pader empty-handed, or rather with empty cylinders and honestly told his colleague leaders and administration staff the truth – that medical oxygen is only being given to districts that have hospitals.
Pader was carved out of Kitgum District in 2000 and the biggest medical facility it has is a health centre four, which is not good enough to provide critical care and give life support, which is done through using sophisticated equipment to help patients bodies perform vital functions like breathing when their bodies fail to do so naturally.
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