Saturday May 24 2014

21 health facilities deserted for lack of staff

Shisanza Health Centre II, constructed between 2001 and 2002,

Shisanza Health Centre II, constructed between 2001 and 2002, lies abandoned in Manafwa District. PHOTO BY DAVID MAFABI 

By David Mafabi

Manafwa- Twenty one health centres in Manafwa District have never received medical staff or drug supplies since they were constructed 10 years ago.
The district health officer, Dr Gideon Wamasebu, said they have remained ghost health centres with some being turned into stores for National Agricultural Advisory Services and converted into sub-county administration offices. He said others have become dens for criminals.

Dr Wamasebu was talking to the visiting vice president of the Red Cross Society of China, Prof Hao Linna, who pledged to rebuild and upgrade Shisanza Health Centre II to Health Centre IV level with the required equipment.

The health centres, which are at parish level, are estimated to have cost about Shs400 million each to build in 2002 and 2003. They have an out-patients unit, a drug store and office. They are spread in every parish across the district.

When Saturday Monitor visited Buwuma Health Centre II, we were welcomed by goats. At Sibanga Health Centre II, it’s sub-county administration officials who were on duty instead of health workers.

“When this health unit was constructed, we thought we would have better health services closer to us but it has become a disaster for the village,” Mr Davis Kaboole, a councillor representing Busukuya Sub-county said at Shisanza Health Centre.

The doors are shattered, the compound is bushy and the out-patients room is littered with human waste.

The residents travel past Shisanza health centre through Nalondo-Butta sub-county to Bugobero Heath Centre III, about 12km or to Mbale hospital, about 21km away, for treatment.

“They have never been used as health centres, they have never had medical staff let alone drugs,” Dr Wamasebu said, adding that any patients and expectant mothers have died due to the long distances they have to travel for treatment.