by Dr. Gregory Bartha
March 1, 2021
The original structure for the Cross Clinic/Hospital proved to be inadequate to serve the needs of the people. With the help of generous supporters in Midland a new facility was built and completed in 2017. Unbelievably it was completely constructed by manual labor. No machinery was involved in any way.
The new hospital has three examination rooms and four wards – one each for males and females, one for children, and a maternity ward. There is a lab, a pharmacy, a labor and delivery room, several storerooms, a meeting room, and several small areas for prenatal visits and counseling. We are now in the final stages of opening an operating room so surgeries can be done at the hospital. This will reduce expenditures considerably by eliminating transportation costs and fees charged by referral hospitals.
We have purchased an ambulance which has been very useful since we frequently have emergency cases who require immediate transfer to a regional center. We have a CBC or blood count machine which helps us to manage the many infectious disease cases we see. We also have a new and upgraded ultrasound machine which helps us greatly to diagnose and treat patients with abdominal pain which is one of the most common presenting complaints at the clinic. We have an incinerator to dispose of trash and a program to handle biohazard waste. Also we now have running water at the hospital.
The maternity ward is quite busy. We have two nurse/midwives on staff who deliver about 40 to 50 babies each month. We have a good delivery bed, infant resuscitation kit, and sterile equipment and supplies. We do not use narcotics or epidural blocks. Pain medications are very restricted in Uganda. Most women do very well with childbirth and are discharged home the next day after delivery. All infants start breast feeding immediately. The midwives are very skilled and can handle most obstetric problems. The most common complication is prolonged labor which usually requires transfer to another hospital for C-section.
Late one night the driver was taking two women in labor to the referral obstetric hospital about 15 miles away. It was the night after a major election, and many people were out in the streets. The driver saw three men holding guns standing in the middle of the road. “What did you do?” I asked. He said, “I turned all the lights off and drove on”. Nothing happened, and all arrived safely at the hospital.