Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Construction of the surgical complex at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital has stalled for 2 years because of the failure by government to release money as per the signed contract.
Construction of the Shillings 22 billion complex started in 2016 and was supposed to run for a period of four years ending this September. The Health Ministry contracted Global Network Construction Company Limited to undertake the construction works.
However, construction works stalled because of a reduction in government funding. Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo Ituuzo, the Director Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, says the project hit a snag last financial year when the contractor abandoned the site before the Health Ministry terminated his contract.
He also says government reduced the release of funds from Shillings 5 billion to 2 billion each finance year, which affected the work.
Tugaineyo says they are in the process of procuring a new contractor, which has also delayed because government hasn’t released the required funds to allow them call for bids. “We have secured the statement of consultants, he has come up with new BOQs but we are still asking for advice from Ministries of Health and Finance who are our advisors,” he said.
The land hosting the proposed surgical complex was initially hosting the casualty ward and the Out Patient Department that were brought down. This reduced the available space for patients which has since caused congestion in the hospital given the high number of patients the hospital serves. The complex will host 300 beds and nine theaters once completed.
An official at the hospital told URN there is need for more than Shillings 20 billion to complete the facility, adding that it will take them more 9 years to complete the works. Betty Namataka, a resident of Mbale who was attending to a patient by the time our reporter visited the facility, said the wards are congested.
Molly Nantabi, another attendant, said they find difficulty associating freely with their patients because of the inadequate space in the ward. He called on government to expedite the construction of the ward to give them some breathing space.
Jack Wamanga Wamai, the Mbale Municipality Member of Parliament told Uganda Radio Network that he wasn’t aware the construction works had stalled. He promised to engage the hospital director on the matter.