The Dead and the Living Fight for Space in Bukwo Hospital

When you fight with a dead body you are bound to win Round One. But after a couple of days, as the dead body fights back with its unbearable stench, it certainly wins Round Two as you run away.

That is what happens often on the wards of the district hospital of Bukwo.

The macabre situation at the hospital was described by the Bukwo district health officer Dr. Edward Sabiti who on Tuesday was briefing the Covid-19 task force. The task force chairperson, newly appointed Resident district commissioner to the new Resident District Administrator Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka was shocked to learn that when patients die, they corpses remain in bed on the ward which beds are on demand by the patients who are still alive and hope to recover.

The DHO said the only way the corpses can leave the ward is when the relatives come to collect them. He stopped short of asking the government to close the hospital but said he wouldn’t be surprised if it gets closed.

Delay by the relatives to collect their corpses is what usually chases the patients who cannot stand the stench and they go to seek treatment from private clinics, yet many of them are too poor to afford, these. The corpses then win the struggle for space.

When the shocked Hashaka demanded to know why there is no mortuary at the district hospital, the recently elected district chairman Julius Chelimo said before he was elected into office, he knows the government released money for construction of a mortuary but he doesn’t know what happened, and passed the challenge to the Chief Administrative Officer who had been there longer.

The CAO, Julius Chelimo said it is true the money was received from the government but the contractor who was selected has never reported to start work. He swore that they have summoned the said contractor to come and explain why he has not taken up the work he was offered.

And so before the elusive contractor shows up, the struggle for space between the living and the dead for Bukwo’s beds continues.

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