Kabale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Kitumba Sub County in Kabale District are struggling to access services at Bwama Health Centre III.
Located at Bwama Island in the middle of Lake Bunyonyi, Bwama health centre III serves residents from Kitumba sub-county and Bufundi sub-county in Rubanda district.
However, there is no alternative route to access the facility apart from using canoes.
The residents say that due to lack of access roads, they are forced to use local stretchers to carry patients on their shoulders up to lake shores. On reaching lake shores, they hire canoes to rush the patients ton the health centre. They say that hiring a canoe to rush a patient costs 20,000 to 30,000 Shillings.
Health workers also say that whenever they are retiring from work, they use canoes and pay money to cross to Harutinda shore.
Jacqueline Tumubweine, a resident of Murandi village in Mugyera ward Buhutu town council, Rubanda district says that however much it takes 30 minutes to access Bwama health centre III compared to a two-hour trek to Kishanje health centre III in Bufundi sub-county, it is also a very big problem to cross the lake to Bwama.
Aaron Twinomujuni, a resident of Burimba in Kitooma parish, Rubaya sub-county, Kabale District says, despite the facility offering better services, accessing the facility is a struggle due to transport problems.
He says that hiring a canoe from Rubaya to the health centre costs 20,000 Shillings which is very expensive.
Ronald Ngabirano, the Bwama Health Centre III in charge says that the facility always receives many patients on Monday and Friday because they target cheap canoes carrying goods to Harutinda market.
Ngabirano says that on Monday and Friday they attend to more than 50 patients while on other days they receive about 30. Ngabirano says that due to transport challenges, some expectant mothers deliver on the way to the facility.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health Senior Spokesperson says that the Ministry of Health plans to procure boat ambulances for all health facilities located on the Islands including Bwama health centre III. He however did not specify when the ambulances will be purchased.