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NewsFunding drought leaves Jimma University Hospital patients to fend for themselves

Funding drought leaves Jimma University Hospital patients to fend for themselves

Sources report deaths due to lack of service provision

Budget constraints have forced Jimma University Specialized Hospital to cut health services, leaving patients to fend for themselves as the healthcare facility struggles to pay its employees and keep its shelves stocked.

Sources told The Reporter that a number of services at the Hospital, which serves as a last resort care center for a population of more than 20 million people in the region, have already been paused due to a lack of resources.

Sources who requested anonymity disclosed to The Reporter that patients have died from the lack of critical health service provision. Hospital employees, including doctors and other medical staff, say it has been several months since they have received duty stipends.

Jimma University Specialized Hospital serves as a critical healthcare center for more than 20 million people residing in Jimma and its surroundings, as well as most of western Ethiopia and neighboring regions, as well as South Sudan. The Hospital’s inability to procure essential medical equipment has left low-income patients without adequate treatment options.

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The inflationary pressure gripping the nation has exacerbated the crisis, rendering vital medications unaffordable for the Hospital, said an anonymous source.

Tragically, patients, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, are succumbing to their ailments while awaiting treatment. Individuals who are capable of affording alternative care are resorting to expensive and often distant private medical facilities.

Members of the Hospital’s medical staff recount instances where patients in urgent need of surgery faced life-threatening delays due to equipment shortages. While a fortunate few managed to procure surgical tools from elsewhere and survive, others were not so lucky, and succumbed to the dearth of medical resources.

Jamal Abafita (MD), president of Jimma University, told The Reporter that the health institution’s role as a specialized teaching hospital, distinct from other state-run health facilities.

He highlighted the Ministry of Health’s obligation to bolster medical infrastructure independently, rather than relying solely on university hospitals.

Jamal called for immediate interventions and stressed the detrimental impact of inadequate medical services, oxygen shortages, and overcrowding on patient care. Despite ongoing efforts to modernize and expand healthcare facilities, the Hospital remains overwhelmed by the sheer volume of patients.

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