By John Agaba
Japan has donated $ 631, 494 (about sh1.6b) towards improving the delivery of health and education services in Uganda.
The grant will enable seven grass-root organizations - health and educational - from different parts of the country procure new equipment, build new facilities, and acquire solar energy.
In the health sector, both Omoro and Amugu health centre III's in Alebtong district, northern Uganda, received $108, 853 (about sh283m) to purchase solar plants. Dr. Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital in Kalongo Town Council, Agago district, received $ 110, 618 (about sh287m) for the construction of a theatre.
'Missionaries of the Power', a home of about 400 homeless men, women, and children who are either mentally or physically handicapped, HIV affected or refugees, in Busega, Kampala received $ 123, 000 (about sh319m ) to purchase an ambulance and a 30-seater bus.
In the education sector, St. Teresa Girl's SS, also in Alebtong district, received $ 50, 658 (about sh131m) to install solar energy. Alito SS in Kole district received $ 121, 898 (about sh316m) to construct a science laboratory.
Mubende Town Council received USD116, 467 (about sh302m) to construct a garbage compositing plant.
During the grant contracts signing ceremony at the Japanese Embassy on Kyadondo road in Nakasero Kampala on Tuesday, Japan's ambassador to Uganda, Kazuo Minagawa, said the donations were part of the 'Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects', a scheme administered by the Japanese Embassy to support community-based development projects in Uganda.
He said Omoro and Amugu health centre III's were the only health facilities in the two sub-counties providing medical services 24 hours to more than 14, 000 people.
However, as the sub-counties lacked electricity, the centres had problem of lighting; this affected the sterilization of medical equipment and the delivery of quality medical care, he added.
Thanking the Japanese people, Fr. Henry V. Lozano, the director 'Missionaries of the Poor', said the ambulance and the bus will help improve access for over 200 vulnerable children to schools and over 960 patients to hospitals from the home.
He said apart from taking care of the 400 homeless and destitute, the home established in Uganda in 2010 also provided free medical care to more than 50 destitute people daily, 20% of these HIV positive and enabled over 800 children access education.