A looming water shortage threatens cholera response activities at Naguru hospital. Administrators at the health facility have said that they do not have enough water to run the facility beyond the next 12 hours following a crisis that has hit parts of Kampala, over the last two days. Some of the affected areas include, Naguru, Bukoto, Ntinda and Gayaza.
The shortage comes days after the ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of cholera in parts of Kampala, with several cases recorded from Kabowa, Rubaga division. So far 16 people are receiving treatment in the isolation ward at Naguru hospital.
Cholera, an acute diarrhoeal infection is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with bacteria. In order to tame further infections, the public is urged to practice proper personal hygiene, wash hands with soap and clean water after using the toilet, and before eating food, boil drinking water, enforce proper human faecal disposal and to cover food to avoid contamination by flies. However, the absence of water implies that all the measures hang in balance.
The executive director of Naguru hospital Dr Emmanuel Bitamwe fears that the situation may worsen in the event that the hospital reservoir runs out of water.
"We’re waiting, we’re seeing the upper flow of the hospital is running dry, the lower flow still has water - which means the levels of water in our reservoir tanks are drying up. We hope maybe in the next few hours they will replace the water, otherwise we shall we’ll really be in a quagmire here…These patients are flushing their bowels almost every hour." Bitamwe said.
The water reservoir tanks at Naguru hospital have a capacity of 160,000 litres. However, the tanks have been running for two days in a row since there was no supply from National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC). By press time, the upper floor of the hospital which houses the labour suites and maternity ward does not have water supply.
Dr Batibwe says the remaining water estimated to be less than a quarter of the capacity of the water tank might not be able to last through the night.
"Normally the water reservoirs last 48 to 72 hours maximum when stretched without an outbreak. However with this cholera outbreak, I do not think we shall have water tomorrow," he said.
According to NWSC, the water outage experienced in Kampala is due to repair works taking place at Gaba. However, Samuel Apedel, the public relations manager at NWSC says that the works have been completed and supply is expected to return today.
At the hospital, administrators are working towards hiring a water bowser at Shs 300,000 to be on standby for service to the cholera ward.