Buikwe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The newly established private wing of Kawolo General Hospital in Buikwe district is overwhelmed by the high number of clients especially in the Outpatient Department-OPD. The private wing was established two years ago after the government constructed a private outpatient department with a ten-bed self-contained suite during the renovation and expansion of the general hospital.
Previously Kawolo General Hospital used to run a drug shop selling medicine, according to the Hospital Administrator, Haruna Wamala. He notes that the private wing is the brainchild of the government, which is aimed at supporting the facility to handle certain services to sustain the hospital.
The wing offers, laboratory, maternity and theatre services at a cost. It is managed directly by the administration of the general hospital with specific staff recruited by the district service commission. The staff comprises twelve members of staff and three specialists. However, Wamala notes that at times the hospital is forced to hire a second doctor to work on clients in the OPD.
Statistics at the facility show that most of the clients turning up for specialized treatment in the private wing come from places such as Mukono, Kampala and Jinja districts. Wamala says that the clients realized that their services are still cheap, adding that they are also sensitizing the community in Buikwe district to familiarize themselves with the facility.
He notes they have used some of the profits from the private wing to buy a microscope and a Blood Count Machine for the general hospital. Although the facility has not yet developed a detailed brochure for its services, Richard Wandulu, a resident of Lugazi central town notes that the charges are slightly low compared to private hospitals in Buikwe district and the country in general. For stance, the consultation fees at the facility for minor ailments costs Shillings 10, 000. Blood testing starts from Shillings 5000 depending on the nature of sickness.
Janipher Nabiko, a trader in Lugazi municipality feels secure receiving treatment from the private hospital wing compared to the privately owned hospitals. “It is easy to have some of the services free of charge at the general hospital and then pay for the rest at the private wing. Privately owned facilities charge exorbitantly and at times hold hostage clients once they fail to pay in time making others slaves which can rarely happen at the government facilities,” Nabiko reasons.
Buikwe District LC V Chairperson, Mathias Kigongo notes that the establishment of the private wing has helped answer people’s desire for specialized treatment.