Mpigi Health Centre IV has suspended major surgeries and operations after failing to restore water at the facility.
According to Dr John Jubilee Abwoli, the in-charge of the facility, water was cut off four months ago after management failed to clear an outstanding bill of Shs5.8 million.
“We are in a crisis, we cannot do anything here without water. The Shs8 million that we receive per quarter [after three months] from government is very little to meet our health needs,” he said.
The water crisis has also forced the administrators to lock the maternity ward, theatre and all the sanitary facilities such as flash toilets and washrooms.
“A theatre requires running water at all times and if it is not available, it becomes a problem,” he added.
Dr Abwoli poured out his frustration at the weekend while receiving a donation from the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ms Amelia Kyambadde.
Ms Kyambadde, who also doubles as the area MP (Mawokota North Constituency), donated items worth Shs9m including; two steam sterilisers, two trollies, maternity curtains, six orthopaedic mattresses, maize flour and sugar for patients, especially those living with HIV/Aids and pregnant women.
Statistics show that Mpigi Health Centre IV receives at least 300 outpatients daily, including accident victims from Kampala-Masaka and Mpigi-Butambala-Gomba highways.
Mr George Nsimbe, a resident in Mpigi Town Council, said some patients and caregivers at the health centre spend a week without bathing because they cannot afford a jerrycan of water from outside the facility.
“A 20-litre jerrycan of water outside the facility costs Shs500. We can’t pay for water yet at the same time we need to save money to look after our patients. Government should immediately come to our rescue because the situation may soon get out of control,” Mr Nsimbe said.
Dr Abwoli said: “This facility needs to be elevated to a general hospital status to serve our community better. You see that we receive almost 450 mothers delivering per month and we have only 13 delivery beds in the maternity ward. On average, 15 to 20 pregnant women deliver using the few beds we have. At times, we are forced to put them on the floor,” Dr Abwoli said.
He added: “Another challenge here is the inadequate midwives. One midwife works on three mothers at ago which makes us risk some lives.”
While inspecting the health centre, Ms Kyambadde pledged to solicit support from the Health ministry and Good Samaritans, including non-government organisations.
She encouraged residents to continue seeking medical services at the facility as they sort out the problem.
“You can see the things needed in our health facilities are many, but this is because we (government) didn’t prioritise health in the budget. We shall keep pushing to ensure that more money is pumped into the health sector,” Ms Kyambadde said.
“What has hurt me most is the theatre. It’s very modern and new but there are no instruments, beds, lights, furniture. In actual sense, the theatre is not operational. The management decided to continue using the old theatre which is very small yet patients are increasing by the day,” she said.
Apart from Mpigi Health Centre IV, the district also has private health facilities such as Nkozi Hospital and Double Cure Medical Centre, but many patients do not seek treatment there due to the exorbitant fees.
According to National Population and Housing Census report 2014, out of the 60,388 households in the district, 18,539 (30.7 per cent) are located 5km or more to the nearest public health facility. Statistics also indicate that only 5,903 households have access to clean water which exposes the rest (54,485) to water-borne-diseases.