Tension is high at Moroto regional referral hospital following a search by police in the staff quarters for stolen property.
Over the years, the hospital has lost a number of hospital items to staff. On November 2, police stormed the staff quarters and recovered items including hospital beds, mattresses, chairs, cupboards and refrigerators.
Police restricted the movement of staff during the operation that started at 2am in the wee hours of Thursday. None of the staff would leave without police clearance.
Sources told URN that the search was prompted by the theft of hospital equipment. Godfrey Mawa, the administrator, Moroto regional referral hospital, said they have lost a number of items including hospital beds, mattresses and chairs.
Mawa says the hospital lost a motorcycle and solar panels amounting to more than Shs 21m in August 2017.
He said the search was aimed at recovering hospital property and equipment taken by staff since 2009 when Moroto hospital was elevated to a regional referral hospital.
Some of the hospital staff that interacted with URN complained that they were ambushed and treated like thieves.
“We can’t even move to our houses or cross that gate until police has cleared us. We have been locked here since morning and even patients are concerned about this siege,” one staff member said.
Loyce Nakiru, a patient who had walked all the way from Loputuk in Nadunget sub- county, said she almost went back home after seeing police manning the gate.
“I have been coming here several times but today was different. I am seeing police everywhere and they are collecting beds. I don’t know what’s going on here,” Nakiru said.
Irene Achieng, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson, could not be reached for comment as she was out of her office and did not respond to our repeated calls.
But one of the police officers on duty said they received instructions to search all the staff houses. He said the hospital management will decide the fate of staff found in possession of hospital property and equipment.