Mukono — Leaders and medics in Mukono Municipality, Mukono District, have welcomed a government plan to elevate Mukono Health Centre IV to a general hospital status.
The local leadership had for five years made pleas to the government to elevate the facility on the Kampala-Jinja highway in response to the overwhelming number of patients it receives daily.
The health facility attends to at least 200 outpatients every day. In 2016, it handled 6,322 deliveries and 1,500 caesarean sections.
Dr Geoffrey Kasirye, the officer-in-charge of the health facility, said government has finally given them Shs300m as a start-up grant to set up modern buildings.
"We engaged the line ministry permanent secretary and we resolved to utilise the Shs300m to construct a three- storeyed outpatient department building. We are happy with this development and it is a step in the right direction," Dr Kasirye said during an interview on Wednesday.
He said a Shs1billion building under construction will enable the facility to attend to more patients from neighbouring districts of Wakiso, Kayunga, Buikwe districts.
"Government has promised to give us Shs300m for three consecutive years to enable us complete the building," Dr Kasirye explained.
When Buikwe District was carved out of Mukono District in 2000, the latter remained without a general hospital after Kawolo Hospital was taken by Buikwe District.
Currently, Mukono District has one Catholic Church-run hospital, St Francis Naggalama in Nakifuma County.
The Mukono Municipality principal medical officer, Dr Anthony Kkonde, said the elevation will increase medical funding, which he said would lead to improved health services delivery.
"Currently, the projected annual budget for buying drugs for the health centre is Shs300m, however, we receive only Shs100m from the government annually," he said.
This, Dr Kkonde said, has forced them to ask patients to buy some drugs from nearby private clinics.
Mukono Municipality Mayor, Mr Fred Kagimu said the expansion of the facility was long overdue given the many cases, many of them, road accident cases recorded at the health unit .
"We appreciate that government is finally about to fulfil its pledge. Because of the demand for better health services, we had started looking for partnerships with organisations like Makerere University Walter Reed project to take services to our people," Mr Kagimu noted.
Ministry of Health permanent secretary, Dr Diana Atwine, said the ministry is acting on a presidential directive to elevate Mukono Health Centre IV and Rubaga Health Centre to hospital status.
Recently, government elevated both Mpigi Health Centre IV and Luweero Health Centre IV to general hospital status.
The demand to have the health centre elevated to a general hospital started about five years ago. In 2013, the leaders applied to the Health ministry to have the health centre upgraded and in 2015, President Museveniofficiated at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the hospital, but it didn't take off.