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Residents raise concern over lack of toilet at newly constructed health centre

Works at newly upgraded Katuugo Health Center 111

Luweero, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  A row has emerged between residents, councillors and Luweero health department over the lack of a toilet at a newly constructed health centre. 

Last year the Ministry of Health with funding from World Bank contracted P&D Traders and Contractors to construct a new building to host Katuugo Health Centre III which was upgraded from Health Center II.

The construction works are valued at 488 million shillings and the contractor is expected to hand over the building before the end of this month.

The building comprises of outpatient, maternity, paediatric, male and female wards. There are also facilities such as water harvesting tanks, placenta and soak pits among others.

But the residents and district councillors say they are concerned that the facility has no toilet and the placenta pit is shoddy.

Edward Ssebuliba the Chairperson of Health Management Committee of Katuugo Health Center explains that although they are happy for the elevation of the facility, lack of toilet facility is a great health concern.

Ssebuliba explains that the number of patients seeking health services is likely to increase from 60 patients per day.  He adds that the latrine at the old health centre building was constructed 15 years ago and is nearly filed.

Regina Pachwegi the Vice Chairman of Katuugo village questions how the Ministry can construct a health centre without a toilet, which could lead to a disease outbreak to nearby residents.

They have now asked the district and Ministry to construct a toilet facility for patients before the health centre becomes operational.

Patrick Mwesigye the Chairperson of Luweero District Health Committee says the councillors visited the site and they were also concerned over the omission of toilet facility for patients.

Mwesigye says that they only flush toilet inside the building can only cater for staff and there is a need to construct a latrine outside for patients. Mwesigye adds that the placenta pit was poorly constructed after they found it filled with water.

The committee has since written a report which they have tabled to the district asking for district to source for money and rectify the issues.

Derrick Mubala the Site engineer of P&D Traders and Contractors Limited said the bill of quantities provided by Ministry of Health had no item for a latrine. 

On the placenta pit, Mubala blamed the water-filled there on the nature of the area and insisted that they constructed it per the recommendation of the district engineer.

Mubala added that they are making final touches to beat the deadline to hand over the health centre to the district for payment of balances.

Doctor Innocent Nkonwa the Luweero District Health Officer says that due to pressure from residents and councillors, they have decided to plan for erecting a VIP latrine at the health centre in next financial year 2020/21. 

Nkonwa explained that the latrine was left out because the Ministry of Health is now advocating for flush toilets and there is one inside the building. 

Nkonwa added that on placenta pit, water can be collected and the facility is used. 

Last year, the Ministry of Health embarked on upgrading 62 health centre IIs to health centre III across the country to improve service delivery.  

The construction is funded by a loan from the World Bank under the Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Program for Results (IFTPR) programme.

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