11 January 2012

Uganda: Row Brews Over New City Referral Hospital

Controversy is brewing over who should manage the Shs17 billion hospital facility handed over to the government by the Chinese yesterday.

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago said yesterday at the hand-over ceremony the ultra-modern facility, located in Naguru, Kampala, that was constructed using a grant from the Chinese government, should be managed by the Kampala Capital City Authority because it owns the land where the facility sits.

The 100-bed capacity hospital is a second level referral and officials say it will handle all health cases that cannot be managed by health centre IVs, in an effort to de-congest the national referral hospital, Mulago.

Easing congestion

"Kampala is served mainly by Mulago which also doubles as a national referral and this has led to congestion hence inefficiencies, but with this new development we hope to have better healthcare delivery," said Health Minister Christine Ondoa at an occasion where the Chinese ambassador to Uganda, Mr Zhao Yali, officially handed over the facility.

But Mr Lukwago said: "There is still a grudge between government and KCCA over who is going to run the hospital because even though government has built the facility, the land belongs to the authority. It would be great injustice for government to take over." The Lord Mayor said KCCA's intention is not to totally kick out government but both parties should work together to promote healthcare in Kampala.

Supervisory role

The Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr Asuman Lukwago, said KCCA will share supervisory responsibilities with the ministry.

"We agree that KCCA is the landlord but the agreement to construct the hospital was drawn between Uganda and China. So KCCA should agree that it also takes a supervisory role just as government is. This is going to be a self-accounting health facility," Dr Lukwago said.

The hospital comes at a time when government is set to build two more regional referrals of the same size in Kawempe and Kirudu at $8 million each to be funded by the African Development Bank.

These developments are hoped will completely de-congest Mulago Hospital which currently grapples with huge number of patients, some of whom sleep in corridors.

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