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National isolation centre completion pushed by two more months

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The planned completion for the National Isolation Centre in Entebbe will be delayed by another two months. The centre was set up in 2009 to handle medical emergencies that require isolation such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-SARS and Ebola.

But in 2015, the World Bank allocated 26.8 billion Shillings for its renovation. The exercise which started in October 2019 was initially expected to be completed in June 2020.

However, the project stalled for three months following the outbreak of coronavirus disease-COVID-19 in March which was followed by a total lockdown and closure of the site for three months. As a result, the ministry extended the completion date first to August and now to October 2020.

The project manager Patrick Rubongoya says that the contractor; Synergy Enterprises Ltd needs more time to complete the remaining works which include setting up a waste decontaminating unit, remodeling of the former Tuberculosis ward into a multipurpose unit, plastering, installing washroom facilities and finishing the ceiling and floor works.

Rubongoya has however also castigated the contractor for failing to get the approved construction materials.

Joseph Tusuubira, the site engineer says that their work has been delayed by the low supply of materials such as steel and the ongoing nighttime curfew which he says is affecting their working time. Tusuubira wants the ministry to allow them to operate overnight.

Entebbe Hospital Director Dr Moses Muwanga says that the resumption of operations at the facility is dependent on completion of the isolation centre. The hospital which serves a population of about one million people in and around Entebbe and Kalangala district shut down all departments to focus on the management of COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Entebbe residents want the hospital reopened due to high fees charged at private facilities for surgery and other services not provided at Katabi and Kigungu health centre IIIs.

As part of the refurbishment, an extra gate has been created for ambulances to bring in new cases to a newly created block. The new block will have a reception area, room for collecting samples from new cases, a laboratory to test samples and an isolation unit for suspects.

New confirmed cases will be taken to the now expanded confirmed ward or red zone, where beds have been arranged to house a total of 100 patients. The red zone has also been remodelled to create space for an intensive care unit while a pathway has been created to connect the red zone and ICU to the laundry section and mortuary.

The centre had a flawed flow of movement, where suspects were housed in the same ward and health workers would have to use the same door to enter and exit the wards.

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