KAMPALA- Parliament’s Committee on Health has said it plans to meet persons who have encroached on the 10 acres for Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) in Naguru.
The 10 acres of land is for the construction of a state-of-the-art cardiac facility that will facilitate the treatment of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks, heart blocks, dying hearts, heart failure and cardiac arrest among others.
However, although the Heart Institute was apportioned 10 acres by the President for the construction, they own 7.5 acres while 2.5 acres remain encroached upon according to the Executive Director UHI, Dr. John Omagino.
Omagino revealed this while meeting members of the committee who were on a site visit on Monday, 18 July 2022 to ascertain the state of the land where the cardiac facility is to be built in the Nakawa-Naguru area.
The committee is scrutinizing a request by government to borrow US$73 million for the first construction phase of the cardiac facility.
Omagino said that during the lockdown, an entity named Tendo Investments fenced off over one acre of land and placed a container in it and yet they have a land title for the whole 10 acres.
He cited other encroachers as Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Division offices in Nakawa, a church in the area, and Lukyamuzi Investments.
“All we want is the Uganda Land Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Attorney General to sort it out; we want vacant possession,” he said.
He said the other boundary challenge with KCCA and the church should be sorted by the surveyors.
“The available land is enough for the project to kick start; if we start soon, we can finish the project in two years and by 10 years, we should be able to conduct heart transplants,” Omagino said.
He told MPs that they are ready with the project and are only waiting for the money to be allocated.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Dr. Charles Ayume said that the committee intends to invite all the encroachers of the land and give them a fair hearing.
He says as a committee, they are fully in support of the construction of the facility and they will ensure that the land is passed.
He says in the first phase of the construction project, they will support it.
“We agreed that we shall support the loan request; we have come to ascertain whether the land exists and we have come and ascertained. This facility is for the good of the country. So many people have heart problems and they will no longer have to fly to India,” Ayume said.
Ayume also proposed that an ambulance lane be constructed along Naguru road to ensure that patients get priority in the area. He says that the construction of the cardiac centre will help in stopping the hemorrhage of treatment costs abroad, and also grow medical tourism.
Dr. Elisa Rutahigwa, a member of the committee and the Rukungiri Municipality MP said that he is shocked that some Ugandans are encroaching on the Uganda Heart Institute land. He says historically, Ugandans use to give land to Government for development.
“I request all of them to leave the land for the Uganda land institute.At least I know everyone has a heart, and once the heart has a problem, it should be taken care of by the institute,” he said.
In 2007, the Government signed a Public-Private Partnership Agreement with an investor, Opec Prime Properties to redevelop the Naguru-Nakawa housing estates into two ultra-modern sustainable satellite towns. The agreement was signed after the eviction of thousands of residents.
When the development failed to kickstart, the government in 2018 terminated the contract for the development of the area and the Land Commission repossessed the land, before reallocating it to new developers.
The heart institute currently operates at Mulago Hospital.