By Violet Nabatanzi
UGANDA People's Defence Force (UPDF) will not be subjected to spending more time waiting for blood samples after acquiring a modern medical laboratory at the General Medical Hospital, Bombo.
Commissioning a new laboratory, Chief of staff Land Forces (COS-LF) Brig Leopold Kyanda said: "Previously our blood samples were taken to Mulago National Referral Hospital and other hospitals for investigations, but now we can test blood from here. The laboratory is speeding up the time of identifying diseases and also enabling us plan better."
He said the UPDF officers deployed to Somalia will have their blood tested from the new facility.
Kyanda added: "The blood tests for UPDF officers destined for United Nations (UN) mission are detailed because of the harsh condition they experience."
Prof Dennis Byarugaba from Makerere University Walter Reed Project said they have invested about $200,000 (sh598m) in laboratory equipment and training of the officers.
"In 2012 we signed a memorandum of understanding with UPDF and the main aim was to enable us conduct research and support patients care. We found out that one of the immediate needs of the hospital was lack of laboratory diagnosis," Byarugaba said.
"Once we started equipping the laboratory the UPDF also got interest and added more equipment," he revealed.
The hospital's acting director Lt Col. Dr. Norbert Kabugo said the laboratory will be able carryout blood tests on all kinds of diseases.
He said the hospital is supposed to be a referral hospital for UPDF officers but they also treat civilian population.
"The bed capacity is about 250 but ever since the renovation of Mulago Hospital, we are overwhelmed by the number of patients," he said.
"We receive very many patients; last year alone we delivered 2,145 babies, patients who were seeking treatment from Mulago and Kawempe Health Center they now come here. We also treat patients from Kyengera and Mukono," Kabugo said.
Byarugaba said they are running three projects at the hospital including laboratory capacity building, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and electronic surveillance system.
UPDF acquires modern medical laboratory