10 June 2018

Uganda: Minister Apologises Over Poorly Equipped Hospital

The State Minister for Health In-Charge of General Duties, Ms Sarah Opendi has apologised over delay by government to renovate and equip Busolwe hospital in Butaleja District.

During her Friday visit to the facility, the minister was, however, quick to blame it on lack of funds.

"We are sorry for the delay but the problem was lack of money. It's not simple work to renovate and equip this big hospital because it needs a lot of money,"Ms Opendi.

The Minister's visit to Busolwe hospital follows series of stories published by Daily Monitor about the poor state of the hospital, which generated public sympathy and support to the facility including donation of more 100 mattresses, 85 modern delivery beds and two infant incubators by world Vision, a non-government organisation.

Earlier, Betway-Uganda, Betting Company had donated 20 mattresses.

Residents under their umbrella association Nanghirisa Development Association (NDA), also partnered with other groups, to solicit funds from residents and well-wishers to re- equip the hospital. By last week, they had collected Shs 4 million in cash and Shs5.2 million pledges, totalling to about Shs9.2 million.

Ms Opendi lauded the organisations and companies for supporting government but said they have got the money worth Shs21 billion to renovate and equip the facility in the next financial year.

"The government is soon going to get the contractor to work on the hospital because funds are available but we are waiting for the technical people in the ministry of Health to complete the paper work," she said, adding that the refurbishment will be funded by Uganda-Spanish Debt Swap.

The minister, however, commended health workers at the hospital for enduring to work amidst unbearable challenges facing the facility.

Busolwe hospital, which was constructed in 1970, during the regime of the former President Dr Apollo Milton Obote, has been facing numerous challenges including rotten beds, lack of water, power, poor sewage system, dilapidated structures, nonfunctional oxygen cylinder, no infant warmer, lack lack of X-ray machine, dilapidated structures, among others for the past 10 years.

The hospital serves a population of over 40,000 patients from several districts neighbouring Butaleja.

The Busolwe Hospital Medical Superintendent, Dr David Okanya said the hospital also faces shortage of drugs, limited funding and lack of other equipment like operational beds.

"There are many things we need urgently without delay like X-ray machine," he said.

Butaleja Woman MP, Ms Milly Mugeni appealed to government to sped up the process of getting a contractor to work on the hospital.

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