By Sarah Kyobe
After a long wait, the Government has finally breathed life in the otherwise very crucial sector of health. The main regional referral hospitals are undergoing massive rehabilitation.
Kudos goes to President Yoweri Museveni for putting emphasis on improving the health infrastructure especially revamping and expanding the older bigger hospitals that have been in dire state.
Negative stories have been running in the media how there are no hospital infrastructures built by the current regime and the health centres they claim to have built lack health workers and medicine or the health centres are a distance away from the users. Others have argued that the Government has failed to renovate and rehabilitate the hospitals infrastructures they found upon coming to power in 1986.
And when one visits these health centres or hospitals, the stories in the media seem to be reality. But glory is to God, the Government has finally embarked on renovating and rehabilitating old hospital infrastructures as well as construction new hospital buildings.
The infrastructure developments are intended to enhance the functionality of health facilities by improving them to the required basic minimum standard for the delivery of quality health care services.
On the Saturday October 18, 2014, President Museveni commissioned the renovation and rehabilitation of Mulago Referral Hospital. However, it is not only Mulago Referral Hospital undergoing renovations and re-construction but there also other 18 more different governments general and referral hospitals.
The 18 more hospitals undergoing massive renovation and re-construction include Mubende, Mityana, Kawolo, Iganga, Bugiri, Anaka, Moyo, Kitgumu, Itojo, Entebbe, Kiryandongo, Nebbi, Apach, Pallisa, Nakaseke, Buwenge Bukwo and Moroto.
Additional to that, also 27 health centre IVs will undergo renovation and these include Kasanda, Kiganda, Mwera, Kyatungo, Bwijanga, Mwizi, Buvuma, Ntenjeru-Kojja, Bugono, Buyinja,Kiyunga, Nankoma, Padibe, Kitwe, Rubare, Pakwatch, Aboke, Aduku, Atyak, Obongi, Kibuku, Budaka, Nngoma, Budondo, Kikamuro, Buliisa and Kabuyanda. In total, there are 47 health infrastructures are undergoing renovation and re-construction country wide.
The ongoing works on the hospitals involves remodeling the old outpatients department, renovation of existing Wards, expansion of the delivery suites, construction of new theatre with two operating rooms, construction of one mortuary and construction of staff houses.
Other parts of hospital also being renovated include attendants’ kitchen, laundry; generator house, incinerators for medical waste, external water supply, and sewerage for the entire hospital as well as external electric supply for the entire hospital.
To make sure these health infrastructures being renovated and re-constructed are well equipped, the ministry of health has gone ahead to purchase hospital beds, Bedside lockers, patient screens, examination beds, examination mattresses, hospital chairs, surgeon stools, , cabinets, drip stands, patient stretchers and trolleys and wheel chairs for them.
The Government is also procuring emergency obstetric, neonatal care equipment and 19 ambulances to be distributed to the 47 health facilities under the ongoing renovation.
For the maintenance of the renovated and re-constructed health facilities, the ministry of health staff is to continue supervision, monitoring and evaluate the works of the facilities.
The scope of the civil works is being done into two phases, the first phase began in 2013 December with $52m.
With the Ministry of Health ‘s estimation of work to be done in 18 months , by May 2015 the poor and ill equipped health infrastructure will be minimal as we wait for the second phase of works on other health development to start. I believe with total completion of the two phases, Ugandans’ will no longer suffer the ill-equipped and poor health infrastructure any more.
Finally, In addition to infrastructure development, the Government through the National Medical store should ensure continuous smooth supply of drugs to all government, referral hospitals and health centres. Having magnificent infrastructures with no medicines is like washing and hanging in the dust. The Drug Monitoring Unit headed by Dr Atwine Diana should also play their part in ensuring that government drugs are not stolen from the allocated hospitals or health centres.
With improved health infrastructures, continuous supply of medicine by National Medical Stores and control of drug theft by Drug Monitoring Unit, I believe the sky is going to be the limit for Uganda health sector.
The writer works with Uganda Media Centre
Government begins massive hospitals’ renovations