Red Pepper in partnership with Uganda Debt Network (UDN), last year carried a campaign dubbed the ‘status of Government Health Facilities in Uganda’ in which ugly pictures of several hospitals were published.
One such hospital was Kitagata Hospital in Sheema district. However, after exposing the appalling state in which the hospital was, a Non-Governmental Organization and other community members has responded by giving it a ‘new lease of life’.
Sheema Development Association (SDA), an NGO that promotes health, education, culture and tourism among others recently donated over 100 mattresses, five wheel chairs, four stretchers, mosquito nets and 200 blankets and bed sheets to the hospital.
Also, the hospital has generally improved on all key parameters.
According to Richard Muhangi, the Chairman of SDA, they intervened to save the situation and restore sanity after media reports highlighted the appalling state of the hospital and receiving several cries from patients.
“Because Kitagata falls under one of the dockets we deal with (health), we couldn’t sit back and watch as our hospital went into shambles. We had to really take action,” Muhangi said when handing over the materials.
The association and community members also asked the political leadership in the district to appoint a senior citizen on the management committee of the hospital whose task is to oversee its operations independently.
To that effect, Muhangi revealed that they appointed Laban Muhabire and “since he took over the administrative role, so many things have completely changed for the better.”
The guest of honour, the then Minister of Health, Ruhakana Rugunda (now Uganda’s Prime Minister) announced that government had secured money from the World Health Organization (WHO) to completely revamp the hospital.
Additionally, Dr. Asuman Lukwago, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, revealed that the government will soon rehabilitate Kitagata hospital under the District Infrastructure Support Program.
Kitagata Hospital was built in the early 1960’s by the first Obote government. It is one of the hospitals that were constructed in western Uganda together with Kambuga, Itojo and Kabale to get services closer to people from Kasese, Rukungiri and Bushenyi who found it difficult to move all the way to Mbarara.
Initially, the hospital lacked basic medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders and concentrators, laboratory equipment, operating theater, refrigerators for storing blood and exclusive drugs.
Also, the facility’s sewage disposal system had broken down, forcing patients and medical workers to walk long distances to answer nature’s call.
Horace Kizito, the Medical Superintendent at Kitagata hospital explained that, “in addition to lack of basic medical equipment, the hospital was extremely dilapidated.”
Last year, some patients abandoned the hospital for the magical hot springs in the area due to its poor state.
The most affected buildings included the Outpatient Department, the female and male wards, maternity ward, the administration block, X-Ray block, staff houses, kitchen and stores amongst others. However, with government’s promise this situation will be no more.
According to reports, an estimated UShs800m is needed to carry out a major overhaul of the entire infrastructure of the hospital.
UDN aims to “promote and advocate for poor and marginalized people to participate in influencing poverty focused policies, demand for their rights and monitor service delivery to ensure prudent, accountable and transparent resource generation and utilization.”