Ugandan MPs to push for functional theatres in regional health facilities

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Members of Parliament on the Committee on Health are pushing for functional operating theatres in health facilities in Kigezi sub-region.

The MPs led by Hon. Nicholas Kamara (FDC, Kabale Municipality) are in the sub-region to assess the status of health service delivery in hospitals and health centres.

While at Busanza Health Centre IV in Kisoro District on Tuesday, 07 November 2023, the MPs noted that the health facility has been operating without a theatre for over 10years since it was upgraded.
“Busanza is a health centre IV but it is still operating at a level of health centre III. We call upon all stakeholders to work together to ensure there is a theatre here given the terrain and distance from the general hospital,” Hon. Margret Ayebare (NRM, Mbarara District) said.

Jackline Kyokunzire, a nurse at Busanza Health Centre IV said the Ministry of Health promised them a new theatre but the construction has taken longer than expected.
“We have waited for the theatre in vain. Inspections have been done but nothing else has followed. Once we get the theatre, then we shall be able to serve our people better,” she said.
While at Kisoro General Hospital, the MPs found a dilapidated operating theatre, with gaping cracks and a leaking roof and recommended that the building be condemned before it collapses on the medics and patients.
“In Kisoro Hospital, the theatre has cracks and I am scared for the lives of the patients and staff. It’s not to the standard. I am appealing to the Ministry of Health to close that theatre. We need an emergency response at the theatre. The engineers can come and assess the situation and recommend whether it is demolished or renovated,” Hon. Betty Chelain (NRM, Amudat District) said.

On the sideline of their oversight visits, the MPs also met the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Diana Atwine at Kisoro Hospital over the status of operating theatres.

For Busanza Health Centre IV, Atwine said that the contract has been signed with the contractor and works will soon commence.

To achieve an efficient health service, Hon. George Didi Bhoka (Obongi County) advised local governments to prioritize operationalising health centres to reduce the patient burden from the general hospitals.
“There is need to balance your operations. If you fully operationalise health centres, you will create space in the main hospitals,” Bhoka said.

However, when the MPs visited Rubanda District, they were impressed by the health service delivery with all the two health centre IVs having functional operating theatres and other essential equipment.

Rubanda was recently ranked the fourth-best district in terms of health service delivery with reports showing that the district has lost only two mothers during childbirth in the last five years.

Rubanda District Health Officer, Dr. Alex Kwizera attributed the success to teamwork, commitment, and supervision.
“In terms of service delivery, we are progressing well because of teamwork; the absenteeism rate has been suppressed to only five per cent. We do monthly attendance analysis and if one has not been on duty for 15 days, then his or her salary is suspended until they show cause,” Kwizera said.

The committee is also expected to conduct more oversight visits in Kabale District on Wednesday, 08 November 2023 while another section of the committee has been doing similar activities in the districts of Rukungiri, Rukiga, and Kanungu.

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