Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited through the contractor for the 600MW Karuma Hydropower Dam – Sinohydro Corporation Limited has boosted health service delivery in Masindi district after commissioning Masindi Barracks Health Centre IV.
Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | The health centre, whose construction started in September 2019, cost US$1.7million, was commissioned on April 17 by Mary Goretti Kitutu, the minister of energy and mineral development alongside other top government officials and personnel from Uganda Peoples Defence Forces.
The health facility completion and commissioning delayed by nine months largely because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The project involved an extension and renovation of structures and is within the Masindi field artillery UPDF Barracks, located in Northwest of Uganda.
It is about 4.5km away from Masindi Town, 210km away from Kampala – capital city of Uganda and approx.70km from Karuma Hydropower Project.
The project comprises of seven new buildings/facilities and extension to the already existing seven buildings.
The seven new buildings/facilities include laboratory, surgical ward, theatre, mortuary, two Nurses’ Houses and one Doctors’ House. It was constructed by Excel Construction Limited.
It is part of the CSR projects that Sinohydro committed to deliver to communities as part of Karuma hydropower flagship project.
“Masindi Barracks Health Center was selected as an ideal project because it already had existing facilities and services, and given the fixed budget at hand, the available funds would be able to do more on an existing site,” said Enock Kusasira, the head of communication at UEGCL.
The facility is expected to solve ailments of all types. It will serve 2, 500 persons – 70% will be civilians and 30% members of the UPDF in Masindi and neighboring communities.
Kitutu (energy minister), said, the facility will improve the working conditions of health workers at the facility and improve the health living conditions of the people of Masindi and surrounding communities. Kitutu, said the commissioning of the facility gives hope to the country that Karuma Hydropower dam and related projects are yet to be commissioned to benefit the people.
Rose Kirabira, the resident district commissioner for Masindi district, said health facilities manned by military personnel are performing very well ‘according to my observation’.
“Please avoid the mismanagement of health facilities of this nature so that they can benefit the people and cause social economic transformation,” Kirabira said.
Ambrose Musinguzi, the chief of medical services for the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, described the project as a landmark achievement.
He said, the UPDF leadership accepted to fund procurement and installation of all the equipment, and add staff needed for effective operation of the facility.
Musinguzi said, there are many accidents recorded in Masindi district and that the facility will handle such cases among others.
The Chairman Project Steering Committee for Karuma and Isimba dam, Eng. Badru Malimbo Kiggundu, said the contractor is on course to deliver all projects under the Karuma dam CSR component amounting to US$4.5million including two hospitals and a primary school.
He urged the government of Uganda to seek for alternative sources of funding to equip and run the facilities in question.
Fu Qiang, the Sinohydro representative, said the heath facility will contribute to the health interventions by the government which is critical for keeping a health population that is key for promoting economic growth.
Qiang used the same forum to promise the government of Uganda that they would soon deliver a fit-for-purpose power dam that is currently 98% complete. Government officials have repeatedly promised to commission the US$1.7bn Karuma dam sometime next year.
Kusasira (UEGCL spokesperson) said, the hospital facility that was being handed over is the originally agreed upon project scope but the project has registered some cost savings out of the budgeted US$1.5million.
“Engagements with the end-user that is UPDF are underway on how best to utilize these cost savings,” he said, “UPDF has already identified some priority areas including but not limited to the construction of an X-ray facility,” he added.