By Ben Okiror
RESIDENTS of Kawaala-Kasubi, in Rubaga Division have a reason to smile after a new health centre was opened there on Wednesday.
The clinic, on Kawaala-Kasubi Road, was established by Hope Medical Clinics Uganda, a non-profit organisation formed by two American charities.
Edward Baharagate, the retired bishop of Hoima Diocese, was the guest-of-honour. He said the clinic would ensure that no patient misses medical services.
According to Charles Lugemwa, the organisationâ€™s country director, the idea was initiated by the Rev. Fr. Dennis Dease, president of the University of St. Thomas Minnesota and Hope for the City, a non-profit organisation also in Minnesota.
â€œThey raised equipment for the clinic and we looked for staff to run it as a business so that it is self-sustaining,â€ Lugemwa said. â€œThe idea is to offer quality and affordable medical services to the poor.â€
This is the second clinic to be set up by the group; the first one, in Ndejje, was established in July 2008. The third one, Lugemwa said, will be in Kawempe at the Holy Family Catholic Church.
â€œThe plan is to set up 400 clinics countrywide on Catholic Church land,â€ he said, adding that each clinic costs $25,000 to build and equip.
Lugemwa, who works with Uganda Revenue Authority as the IT manager, said he is a volunteer. He explained that Hope for the City collects used medical equipment in addition to donated medicines to be used in the clinics.
The Kawaala clinic currently employs two nurses, a laboratory technician and a cashier. There are plans to have consultants provide free services to those who cannot afford them, said Lugemnwa.
He explained that each clinic has a 10-member local advisory committee that collects money in instalments from patients who were once treated on credit.
Jane Nantumbwe, a mother of a one-year-old son was excited, saying they would now be assured of treatment.
â€œWe used to go to the Kampala City Council clinic, but you would miss drugs and immunisation for our children,â€ Nantumbwe said.
During the launch, free mosquito nets were given to immunised children and pregnant women.