MUKONO - The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine has revealed that government is to elevate Mukono Health Centre IV to hospital status.
Dr. Atwine said the ministry is now working to have buildings that have been lacking at the site constructed, as the existing ones are too small to handle the overwhelming numbers of patients.
She said the ministry for the past years used to get reports from the Health Centre administration and Mukono Municipality leaders about the overwhelming numbers of patients despite the limited resources.
"I was shocked last year when I paid a visit to the facility and found very many patients waiting to be served. We are now working around the clock to put in place all the required facilities and have the facility upgraded to a hospital status," she said during an interview with the New Vision.
Atwine said they are also going to put in place more modern health equipment required to treat people adding that they started with equipping the laboratory which is at least up-to-date now.
She also said that they are soon working on improving the staffing level because the few that are in place are overloaded by the big numbers of patients that turn up for treatment on a daily basis.
Atwine raised concern over the slow construction of the Out-Patient Department building.
In response however, the Mukono Municipality Health Officer, Dr. Anthony Kkonde shifted responsibility to the municipality Town Clerk's office.
The Municipal town clerk, Richard K. Monday cited misunderstandings with the constructor. He further revealed that he sought advice from the Ministry of Health, but the response is still pending.
Dr. Kkonde said the facility receives patients from Mukono Municipality, other neighbouring Mukono district sub-counties, districts like Buikwe, Kayunga, Buvuma and Kira Municipality.
According to records, the financial year 2015/16, 6,322 gave birth at this facility and among those, 1,013 underwent caesarian section. Only two died during the process.
In 2016/17, 7,572 women gave birth at the facility with 1,414 of those undergoing caesarian section. Three were reported to have died during the process.
Between July and December 2018, 4,033 women gave birth at the facility and among those, 959 underwent caesarian section.
Dr. Kkonde said maternal deaths are still occurring because pregnant mothers don't attend antenatal care services and others delay in traditional birth attendants hence being referred to the health centre in a very sorry state.
He says that due to the overwhelming numbers at the facility on a daily basis, the drugs received get done fast and spend are forced to ask most patients to buy their own if they are to be attended to.
"Instead of turning down the patients because the health centre has no medicine and have the health workers idle, we ask the patients to buy the missing drugs," he said.
Kkonde also cited the underfunding as their biggest challenge stressing that for many years, they have not received even half of the money budgeted for according to the workload on ground.
"In the financial year 2015/16 we budgeted for sh327m but received sh85m, 2016/17 our budget was sh388m but we got sh85m, in 2017/18 our budget was sh438m but we received sh47m, in 2018/19 we budgeted for sh451m but got sh84m," he said giving the records.
Dr. Geoffrey Kasirye, the Mukono Health Centre IV in-charge said according to the limited numbers of staff, the ones on ground tend to work beyond the stipulated period as per the demand.