National

Ministry irked by idle ward at Arua hospital

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By CLEMENT ALUMA

Posted  Thursday, August 7   2014 at  09:48

In Summary

The Health ministry has threatened to hold funding if the hospital authorities fail to budget especially since a whole ward lies unutilised at the hospital

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ARUA

Patients at the Arua Regional Referral Hospital sleep on the floors and corridors of various wards while others share beds.
All this, as a spacious building, completed four years ago at a cost of Shs4 billion to accommodate patients lies idle.
In 2010, a section of residents who own properties around the hospital land where the lagoon is located, sued the authorities for setting up a lagoon without an environmental assessment impact report.

About a year ago, court ruled in favour of the hospital. But even after this ruling, the ward still remains unutilised.

The hospital director, Dr Bernard Odu, apologised for past mistakes and appealed for trust from district authorities.
“I am the one who is bombarded by the site of that white elephant every day and we all need it to work. What we need now is a fundamental change in all sectors but changing the attitudes of a society needs a consultative approach,” Dr Odu said.

Following the lack of action from the hospital, the Mministry of Health which bank-roles the hospital’s development projects, has issued an ultimatum to the management to show how they intend to use Shs1 billion intended for development projects or cut the budget.

The ministry’s principle accounting officer, Mr Tom Aliti, told district leaders on Tuesday that: “For us in the ministry, we want to know how the Shs1 billion for capital developments will be used this financial year especially if the new ward is not being used.”

The Resident District Commissioner, Mr Peter Debele, accused the hospital administration of deliberately running the affairs of the hospital without a functional management board for a year and hiding vital information from district authorities.
The hospital’s head of procurement, Mr Obadiah Muhunguzi, said the design for construction of the lagoon had been drawn and presented to the Health ministry. He said construction would take five months starting in September.