Rukungiri — A businessman has donated a health centre III to Kebisoni Town Council in Rukungiri District in an effort to improve community access to health care.
Mr Ben Mugisha Kavuuya, a rancher, real estate developer and chairperson of the Legacy Group, named the facility 'The Kavuuya Memorial Health Centre III' in memory of his late father Yerimiya Kavuuya.
The health centre was opened by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on Saturday in Rwankoma Cell and will serve about 10,000 people.
Mr Kavuuya said his father, who died of a heart attack in 1987 at the age of 67, would probably have lived longer if there was such a health facility in the area.
"I thank my parents for being hardworking and leaving us with property. My father died of cardiac arrest on the way to Nyakibale Hospital. If there was such a facility and a medical officer in this area, he would have live one or two more years," he said.
He added: "God has fulfilled my dream (of establishing health facility in this area). I thank Him for giving me life and blessing me to put smile on faces of one or two people."
The centre was established on an acre piece of land at a cost of Shs150 million. Electricity has already been connected to the facility and Mr Kavuuya said he will embark on constructing a maternity ward, which will have 20 beds and a labour suit.
The Director General of Health Services, Dr Henry Mwebesa, said the facility has been built on the standard designs of the Ministry of Health.
"We have taken it up because as a ministry, we have the responsibility of establishing a health centre III in every town council," Dr Mwebesa said.
He added the ministry will equip it with drugs, deploy there 19 staff and equipment.
"Through the district local government starting next financial year, we shall budget for these such that it starts functioning normally," Dr Mwebesa said.
The district chairperson, Mr Andrewson Katebire, and the area MP, Ms Paula Turyahikayo, hailed Mr Kavuuya for supporting government in providing health services in the area.
Dr Rugunda also hailed the businessman and urged other people to help to give a hand in addressing community challenges.
He said as a result of government interventions and help from such individuals, infant and maternal mortality rates have reduced.
"I thank Ben for providing land and excellent facility for the good of the people. Your contribution is going to improve maternal and child health in this community. We lose women (during delivery) because of lack of proper health facilities and because of women's preference to deliver from homes. I urge you to go to health facilities because if you get complications, midwives will try to save your life," Dr Rugunda said. He added that facility should be used to fight the growing problem of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and blood pressure.
"Health is made from home and only repaired in hospital. Let us eat well and prevent diseases from our homes so that we go to hospital only when we need to repair life," Dr Rugunda said.
The Prime Minister added that government is working on establishing a district hospital.
Mr Kavuuya, who has another home in Lyantonde District, also built a health centre II in Kabatema, Kariiro Sub-county in 2010 at cost of Shs100 million. It was established to address emergence health complications in the community.
Demand for hospital. The District Health Officer, Dr Kasiima Mucunguzi, in a separate interview, urged government to expedite the process of setting up a district hospital because many people cannot afford the cost of treatment in private hospitals.
Dr Mucunguzi said health worker staffing is at 69.5 per cent, of which government offers accommodation for only 10 per cent.