A tweep shared photos purporting that they show the deplorable condition of Jinja Referral Hospital in Uganda. Accompanying the photos is a caption accusing Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Uganda, and Dr Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, Uganda’s Minister of Health of having failed at their jobs.
— Jinja's Pablo Escobar (@Ozelle_Kayom) July 30, 2020
Jinja Regional Referral Hospital is located in the city of Jinja and is the largest hospital in eastern Uganda.
On May 21, 2020, NTV Uganda reported that nurses working in the COVID-19 isolation word at Jinja hospital laid down their tools over what they said were poor working conditions.
The Ugandan Ministry of Health dismissed the claim as being ‘false’ and ‘malicious’.
The @MinofHealthUG would like to inform the general public that the pictures of Jinja Referral Hospital circulating on social media are false and spreading for malicious reasons. pic.twitter.com/0yYgWSJyAG
— Ministry of Health- Uganda (@MinofHealthUG) July 31, 2020
Dr Atwine also addressed the claim and tweeted a press release dissociating Jinja Hospital from the pictures that were shared online, stating that the malicious posts are aimed at ‘tarnishing the name of the institution and health sector at large.’
Reverse image searches show that the photos used in the claim are indeed old.
The first photo – showing the entrance of Jinja Hospital – is an old one, taken in December 2018.
The second photo – showing an elderly man sitting on a bed using a papyrus mat in place of a mattress – appears in a report dated February 6, 2018, as being of Busolwe General Hospital in Butaleja District in Eastern Uganda. The hospital was then operating under dire conditions and had not had any major renovation since its establishment in 1970.
The third photo – showing a woman sleeping on the floor – was reported on February 25, 2012, as being of Bugiri Hospital. The poor conditions were attributed to dilapidated infrastructure, stringent budget and being understaffed.
The fourth photo – showing a bed with a papyrus mat – is reportedly from Iganga Hospital and was taken in August 2013. At the time, the over 45-years-old facility had problems of water shortage, hefty power bills and poor accommodation, and not much had been done to better services for the growing number of patients at the facility.
The photos shared online purporting to show the current state of Jinja Referral Hospital in Uganda are old and three of them have no relationship with the said hospital, making the claim FALSE.