SOROTI – Residents of Soroti City, West Division are in celebratory mood as their area member of parliament Jonathan Ebwalu donated part of his Shs 200m meant for a car, towards the construction of a health facility.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of Agora Health Center III on Thursday, Ebwalu told the jubilant locals that he has donated Shs 70m out of Shs 200M he received towards the construction project.
The facility will have a doctor’s consultation room, Out Patients Department (OPD), laboratory and a ward for women. It’s to be constructed on 58 acres of government land located in Ojikai cell, Agora ward in Soroti City west division.
Once completed, the health facility will serve the cells of Ojikai, Akere, Olupe and Ogerai an estimated population of more than 9,000 people.
For many years, residents from the above cells have been walking long distances to access medical services. The residents often need a stretcher to transport patients or a woman in labor to either Majengo Health Center III at the division headquarters of Lilim Health Center II in Lalei sub-county, Kamuda Health Center III in Soroti district, about 15kms away.
The residents say in most cases, mothers give birth on the way to the health facility or are assisted at their homes by Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) because of lack of access to health centers.
“I have been assisting women in this village for more than 40 years because there is no health facility,” said Jessica Asio, a 70-year old traditional birth attendant.
“I usually accompany those who develop complications to Majenjo Health Center III or Kamuda Health Center III, usually at night. Sometimes we fail to reach the hospital and it is my task to see that they have delivered,” she adds.
Nicodemus Eyangu, the vice chairperson Agora ward said that the situation becomes tougher during rainy seasons when they need to make a choice between carrying the mother in labor over the slippery roads or helping her deliver at home. According to him, of course some have died in the process.
“I have witnessed more than five people die before reaching the hospital in the past three years,” said Eyangu. He has also seen three women deliver on the way before reaching the health facility.
Narrating the ordeal, they go through, Eyangu said leaving home to get to either Majengo Health Center III or Kamuda Health Center III, for patients of malaria, they carry them on the back to reach the road where a motorcycle can be used.
He added that for the pregnant women, residents carry them on the mattresses and lift them to the nearby road.
Catherine Alem, a resident of Ogerai cell said that its for this reason why they are in jubilation when they received the good news about the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the health facility by their area member of parliament Jonathan Ebwalu.
She said that once the health facility is completed, it will save them from the burden of walking long distances to access health services.
“I am not supposed to construct a health center because it is not one of my functions as an MP. But following the public out-cry about how they suffer with accessibility to medical services, I decided to donate part of shs 200m government gave me for purchasing a car to start the construction of a health facility,” Ebwalu said.
The legislator added that as MPs, they are forced to intervene in the area of service delivery because our government has failed to reach everywhere.
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