NTUNGAMO – In a bid to resolve the poor health service delivery in Ntungamo, the central government has allocated 1.5 billion shillings towards refurbishing three health centre IIs in the district and upgrade them to health centre IIIs.
According to the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Lenard Ahimbisibwe, the money will go to rehabilitating Kyamwasha, Nyabushenyi and Ruhoko health centres, with each taking 500 million shillings.
“The commencement of construction has just delayed; all the other processes are done, we already have the money, the contractors are there and I think by end of this financial year we shall have the projects done,” Mr Ahimbisibwe said.
For the Shs500 million on each health centre, Shs 140 million will be spent on construction of the outpatient department, Shs300 million is for construction of maternity ward, Shs35 million for construction of toilets and Shs25 million on monitoring by Ministry of Health.
The district chairman, Mr Denis Singahache, said the district had submitted 10 parish health centres for upgrade to sub-county health units but the ministry chose to fund two in the district and one in the municipality, ‘which is also welcome.’
“The district council had submitted more health units for upgrading hoping that this would improve delivery of health services. Most of our people move over 10 kilometers to reach a health unit and most of the units are health centre IIs. We also have information that government is in final stages of phasing out health centre IIs, we want them instead upgraded to the level where they can serve the communities well,” Mr Singahache said.
A report by Advocacy for Better Health (USAID funded PATH project) in Ntungamo says the district has one of the lowest levels of referral system in the country with over three-quarters of the population not in the recommended distance to a health centre. Ms Josephine Kiconco an advocacy officer with PATH says at least each of the sub-counties in the district needs a functional health centre II.
Ntungamo District Health Officer Dr Richard Bakamuturaki says the district has been performing poorly in health service delivery due poor referral system as the number of health units do not match with the population. The district was in 2017 ranked among the worst five in health performance in the country.
“When you look at other districts especially those performing well in health services delivery, you will notice that their referral system is better. We need more health units and more staff to run the units, there we can serve the population better,” Dr Bakamuturaki said.