Masindi LCV Chairman renews call for construction of Masindi hospital

Masindi Hospital was constructed in the 1920s as a dispensary for Uganda Railways.

Masindi: In 2022, the Ugandan government allocated 50 billion shillings for the construction of the Masindi district general hospital.

However, despite this allocation, construction has not yet commenced.

During a Thanksgiving ceremony for Dr. Balaam Barugahara, the state minister for children and youth affairs, Cosmas Byaruhanga, the Masindi district LCV Chairman, appealed to Uganda’s Prime Minister Robbinah Nabbanja to intervene in the hospital’s construction delay.

Byaruhanga has repeatedly raised concerns with the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, regarding the Masindi hospital issue, but so far, there has been no progress.

He also emphasized the need to elevate health centers from level II to level III to improve services for residents.

The district chairman further urged the prime minister to allocate funds for the construction of secondary schools and health centers, particularly in Kigulya and Karujubu Division, where government secondary schools and health centers are lacking.

Dr. Balaam Barugahara also highlighted the importance of expanding electricity coverage to cells in both the municipality and rural areas. ‘’Access to electricity is crucial for the overall development of the region,’’ he added.

Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, has reassured the leaders in Masindi that the construction of the Masindi district general hospital is indeed part of the government’s program.

This commitment comes after concerns were raised about the delay in commencing construction, despite the 50 billion shillings earmarked for the project in 2022.

In response, Prime Minister Robbinah Nabbanja pledged to collaborate with the education and health ministries to ensure the construction of secondary schools in Kigulya and Karujubu Divisions.

Additionally, she promised to send the energy minister to survey areas without electricity.

Furthermore, Nabbanja assured residents that 1 billion shillings have already been secured for the construction of the Masindi district general hospital, with work expected to begin in July of this year.

The hospital project aims to address the challenge of inadequate space for patients and improve healthcare services in the region.

Division leaders speak out.

Kigulya and Karujubu Divisions in Masindi Municipality, Masindi District, are operating without government secondary schools and health centers.

Kigulya division was carved out of Miirya Sub County and became part of Masindi municipality, while Karujubu is one of the four subcounties that used to constitute Buruuli County before it became a division in Masindi municipality after its creation in 2010.

Under the current government policy, each division or subcounty is supposed to have a public health center III and a secondary school.

But Milton Winfred Kutegeka, the LC3 chairperson for Kigulya Division, stresses that his division does not have any of these, forcing the population of 25,000 residents to trek long distances to seek health and secondary education from other divisions.

Kutegeka added that these include pregnant mothers who trek to Masindi Central, Nyangahya, and Karujubu divisions or Miirya Sub County for antenatal and other pregnancy-related services.

‘’Those in Kigulya ward seek services from Kirasa health unit; those in Bigando ward go to Kijenga health center or Biizi health center II; and those in Isimba ward seek services from Pakanyi health center III or Nyakitibwa health center III in Karujubu Division,’’ he said.

Kutegeka revealed that in order to address the problem, the division leadership has embarked on constructing an outpatient department in Isimba Ward, which is at the moment at the foundation level, but they lack funds to complete it.

‘’We have secured land in the above wards for the establishment of health centers and schools, and we are appealing for government intervention,’’ he said.

Kutegeka also revealed that the learners who complete primary school also trek long distances to get secondary education in Masindi Central Division, contributing to the high school dropout rate in the division.

‘’We have four government-aided primary schools and 13 private primary schools, but we are lacking a secondary school. Pupils who complete the primary cycle trek long distances to get secondary education due to a lack of government-aided secondary schools, and this has contributed to rampant school dropouts in the division,’’ he decried.

Meanwhile, Solomon Asiimwe, the LC3 Chairperson for Karujubu Division, said that due to the lack of a government-aided secondary school in the division, the community, together with the division authorities, decided to establish a seed secondary school in Kihuuba cell with the hope that the government will take it over in the future.

Asiimwe decried that the absence of a government-aided secondary school in the division is stressing the poor parents who can’t afford to take their children to the only private secondary school in the area. He said this forces the children to trek long distances to Masindi town for secondary education, which has led to many of them dropping out of school.

‘’We have only one private secondary school, and it can’t accommodate the entire division due to the population. In addition, children whose parents can’t afford school fees are trekking long distances to Masindi town for secondary education’’, he lamented.

The politician noted that although the division has two health centers, Nyakitibwa Health Centre III and Kibbwona Health Centre II, these also lack power and enough drugs.

‘’We have two health centers, but they are not connected to the national grid. Midwives either use solar or torches while conducting deliveries, and this puts the lives of our pregnant mothers at a high risk,’’ he said.

Asiimwe revealed that they are following up on the issue to ensure that the two health facilities are connected to the national grid to improve service delivery there.

Sam Peter Ayebale, the Municipal Principal Education Officer, acknowledged the lack of government-aided secondary schools in the two divisions, revealing that they are being considered under the Uganda Secondary Education Expansion Project.

Godfrey Mirimo, the acting principal medical officer for Masindi Municipality, admitted that some health centers in the municipality are not connected to the national grid, which hampers smooth service delivery.

About the hospital

Masindi Hospital was constructed in the 1920s as a dispensary for Uganda Railways. By the time it was constructed, it was serving 50,000 people. It currently serves more than 500,000 people from Nakasongola, Kiryandongo, Buliisa, and Hoima districts.

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Innocent Atuganyira

Innocent Atuganyira is a resilient multimedia journalist, a born of the oil-rich Buliisa district but working in Masindi District, Mid-Western Uganda. Contact: +256786816091/ WhatsApp +256757022363

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