ARUA. 9th April will forever not be forgotten by 50-year-old Ms Neria Nyadriru from Asevu Village, Tilevu parish in Vurra sub county, Arua district, a wife to the ‘Ediofe patient’, now late Yuda Alio who passed away on Easter Sunday after struggling to save his life.
Suffering from an acute heart and liver complications, Alio was in March this year discharged from Kuluva Hospital and was due to report again by mid-April.
Unfortunately, Alio’s condition worsened on Thursday 9th April that prompted his wife to bring him to Ediofe Health centre III using a bodaboda.
“When we reached Ediofe Health centre, we were welcomed and after being assessed, they (health workers) said Mzee’s sickness is not worth for admission here other than to be referred to Arua Regional Referral Hospital (ARRH)”. Nyadriru narrated.
Upon the referral, that was the start of Nyadriru’s challenges when she started looking for bodabodas to take them to the hospital which is about a kilometre and a half away from Ediofe health centre. She failed to get one because of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions that has barred them from carrying passengers.
“After failing to get a bodaboda, I was given a bed to lay my husband because he could neither sit nor stand and walk as health centre management started looking for ways of calling for an Ambulance by making calls to relevant Arua district authorities”, she added.
After the communication, nurses told Nyadriru to be ready as the ambulance would soon come to pick them, which Ambulance did not come from 11am up to 2pm.
The health officers kept reporting that the Ambulance will come at 11am, then 1pm up to the time when it could not surface after waiting for more than 3 hours.
After inquiring from nurses about the fate of the Ambulance again with no positive response, the now impatient Nydriru requested the management to give her a wheel chair so that she rolls her husband to Arua Hospital.
When there was no clear response, Nyadriru opted to carry her husband on her back and this was the time Sr Doris Okudini’ya arrived with a wheel chair.
What did the Health centre management do?
Mr Charles Odongtho, an assistant accountant at the health centre who participated in calling for an ambulance said after noticing that the in-charge of the health centre was taken up, he decide to call Gombolola Internal Security Officer (GISO) for Pajulu sub county to intervene.
While GISO called the RDC who was said to be with Arua district Health Officer (DHO) in the same meeting, the information about the emergency response was circulated. The health centre was then assured of an Ambulance coming sooner to pick the patient.
After waiting for over 30 minutes, De’bo decided to call the in-charge of the health centre to again inform DHO for a quicker response of Ambulance services as the patient’s condition kept worsening. The in-charge immediately called DHO for second time who responded positively to send the Ambulance.
It was until lunch time when the patient’s wife started crying for her husband’s deteriorating condition and instead demanded for wheel chair to roll the patient to hospital herself as Ambulance failed them.
It was at this point with the notice of the health centre management that Doris Oku’diniya volunteered to accompany the patient to Arua Hospital.
This is in accordance with a nurses’ rule that states that; “any patient, even if transported in an Ambulance, should be accompanied by a nurse until the patient is handed over to another nurse in the hospital”.
Management of Ediofe health centre confirmed departure of the nurse and the patient, and the relatives as at some few minutes past 1PM with hopes that the ambulance would find them on the way and eventually pick them quickly. But the Ambulance reached Ediofe health centre at 2PM.
The nurse’s Concern
When the Ambulance delayed, Oku’diniya became concerned and started checking condition of the patient and asking whether he was given anything to eat or drink.
On discovering that the patient since 9:00am up to midday was on an empty stomach, she decided to buy some juice for the patient as they kept waiting.
“Now that there is no medication for this Mzee here, what do we do as there is no vehicle” Nyadriru narrates Oku’diniya asking her.
“I am defeated in this process. What I think as the best solution is only to have a wheel chair given to me so that I roll my husband to the Hospital” Nyadriru answered.
When the health centre management Okayed her to go with the patient, Oku’diniya and Nyadriru took off with the patient to the hospital despite the high sun heat that made her to sweat a lot on the way, until she delivered the patient in hands of health workers at ARRH with referral letter form from Ediofe Health Centre III.
Response by Arua district leaders (RDC) to Oku’diniya’s Sacrifice!
After the news going viral, on Thursday evening, Arua district leaders, led by the deputy RDC Ms Alice Apio, blamed the nurse for sacrificing to take the patient to the hospital, accusing her of breaching nurses’ professional code of conduct.
This did not auger well with the public across the country as it instead aroused anger against the Arua district COVID-19 task force.
“This nurse Doris Oku’diniya is reportedly being harassed by Arua district authorities for helping a patient during the day. In Mbale the DPC Fred Ahimbisibwe personally drove at night to save an expectant mother and her child. Our problem is leadership” Charles Odongo twitted on Wednesday.
However, it was a big loss to Oku’diniya when she heard of the death of the man she helped.
“I didnt feel good about this man’s death because my effort was to save life. But, anyway, it may be what God has planned for the family which I don't know”.
Oku’diniya however said she is not scared of the threats by authorities, she maintains that she took an oath to save lives.