Amuria district gets Shs1.2bln to upgrade health centre IIs

AMURIA– Trekking for long distances in search of better medical services will soon be history for the residents of Apeduru and Ogolai sub-counties in Amuria district as the government begins to upgrade health centre IIs to health centre IIIs in a bid to improve service delivery.

The Ministry of Health is currently upgrading Golokwara Health Centre II in Apeduru Sub-county and Abeko Health Centre II in Ogolai sub-county to Health Centre III status.

Christopher Okiring, the Amuria district communication officer told theCooperator that the health centres which serve about 1,000 people received Shs1.2 billion for their upgrade.

He said that the contract to upgrade the two facilities has been awarded to Cab Uganda Ltd. and the construction works are expected to last for six months from now.

“The project to upgrade the two facilities is under the supervision of Amuria District Local Government and the Ministry of Health,” he added.

Dr. Nick Okwi, the Amuria District Health Officer [DHO] said health center IIs undergoing upgrades will start operating as health centre IIIs on July 1, 2022, as explained by the Health Ministry.

He said the facilities will have a maternity ward, staff houses, pit latrines, a placenta pit, medical waste pit, and an incinerator.

The health facilities once completed, will offer services such as Out-Patient Department, handle in-patients and maternity, among others,” he said.

Dr. Okwi added that the ongoing upgrade of the health center IIs is in line with the government’s policy of establishing a health center III in every subcounty across the country.

Moses Emabu, the Amuria district LCV chairperson said the resolution to upgrade Golokwara Health Centre II in Apeduru sub-county and Abeko Health Centre II in Ogolai Sub-county to health center III status was reached in 2020 by the previous council.

He highlighted that the resolution followed the government’s pronouncement to phase out health centre IIs and have health centre IIIs in every sub-county.

“It also came after district authorities noticed that the number of expectant mothers who were dying while on their way to Amuria health center IV which is almost 15 kilometers away”, said Emabu.

Susan Akiror, a resident of Ogolokwara village in Apeduru sub-county hailed the government for thinking about them.

She is optimistic that the ongoing upgrade of Ogolokwara health center II to health center III status will greatly improve the health standards of the community.

“We have been struggling while looking for medical service because we used to trek distances of over 20  kilometres to access health services at Amuria health center IV, which is the district referral hospital,” Akiror noted.

Moses Olinga, a 76-year-old resident of Abeko village in Ogolai Sub-county said that for the first time, the government has also valued them.

“We are so grateful and we shall continue supporting it for this service, we face hardships to access modern health services at Amuria health center IV which is very far from our sub-county,” Olinga said.

Meanwhile, the Amuria Resident District Commissioner Lilian Eyal appealed to the contractors to ensure quality work and complete construction within the allocated time if they are to maintain credibility with government.

She warned that the facilities will not be commissioned if shoddy work is detected, adding that the contractor will not be awarded any contract in the district.

Eyal also asked the contractor to employ local people as casual labourers so that they can also benefit from the project in their area.

On the other hand, Eyal cautioned locals not to steal or vandalise equipment on the construction site, saying it may prolong the construction, which would be a disadvantage to the community.

“As the RDC I pledge my commitment to continuously monitor construction works and hold regular site meetings with district officers, contractors, and the locals to ensure timely completion of the project but also value for money,” she said.

In 2019, government announced that it would upgrade 206 health centre IIs to health centre IIIs to improve service delivery.

The upgrade aims at reducing maternal mortality and bringing a comprehensive package of maternal and laboratory services closer to the people.

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