KAMPALA – The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among has directed the Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng to carry out a comprehensive audit of the state of district hospitals and health centres around the country and report to the House in one month.
“We also need to know budgetary expectations for upgrading of health centres. This should be done in consultation with the constituency MPs and the Committee on Health,” she said.
Among’s directive followed a statement by the Minister of State for Health (General duties), Anifa Kawooya during a plenary sitting on 22 July 2021.
The Minister was responding to a question raised by Terego District Woman MP, Rose Obiga over the absence of a district hospital in her constituency.
Kawooya said that Terego district is still new, adding that the two health centre IV’s are providing services to the community in the district.
“According to the Ministry of Health policy, the health centres have the capacity to serve the current district population of 200,000. These health centres will be well equipped and health workers recruited to provide services,” she said.
Kawooya added that there are 68 new districts which await upgrading of health centre IV’s to district hospitals.
Legislators however, dissented from the Minister’s statement saying that some districts have been in existence for long but still do not have hospitals, while other hospitals operate without budgets.
Sembabule District Woman MP, hon Mary Begumisa informed the Minister that the district was created in 1994 but still has no district hospital.
“The district has been operating with a health centre IV. When will the district get a hospital,” she asked.
The Minister however, attributed the delay in upgrading the health centre IV to a hospital to a stalemate in acquisition of a land title and the need to expand the land to accommodate a hospital.
MP Goreth Namugga (NUP, Mawogola County South) asked whether the lack of land is to blame for the absence of equipment and medical supplies in the health centre.
“Is it because there is no land for building a hospital in Sembabule that the health centres do not have medical supplies?” she asked.
Flavia Kabahenda (NRM, Kyegagwa District) questioned the criteria used to upgrade health centre IV’s to hospitals.
“We need a report on how all health centres are upgraded. Kyegagwa has been a district for long but does not have a hospital,” she said.
Bwamba County MP, Richard Gafabusa asked the Minister to include the status of district hospitals which are dilapidated and non-functional.
“Some districts have hospitals but the people can barely access services there. Money was allocated to some of those hospitals but there is no update on the rehabilitation of such hospitals,” he said.
Melisa Naima Avako (NRM, Yumbe District) pointed out that whilst some of the districts have had health centre IV’s upgraded to hospitals, there are no budgets to run the facilities.
“The minister should also include in her report the status of upgraded hospitals without budgets. An example is Yumbe Hospital which is not fully operational due to lack of funds,” Avako said.
The Chief Opposition Whip, John Baptist Nambeshe urged the Minister to provide the House with a comprehensive report which has a list of all districts without hospitals and related health budgets.