Locals ask govt to fund Kilembe Mines Hospital 

A woman walks to Kilembe Mines Hospital in Kasese District to seek treatment last year. PHOTO | ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • The facility that had 82 staff members in 2022 is only left with 14 serving patients.

Patients seeking health services from Kilembe Mines Hospital in Kasese District are stranded following the government’s decision to withdraw all medical supplies and funding in 2022.

The government’s decision also saw some staff transferred. 

The hospital has been devastated by floods from River Nyamwamba four times in the past years, pushing the government to stop investing in the facility prone to natural disasters.

Dr Bernard Balyana, the medical superintendent of Kilembe Mines Hospital, said the decision has negatively impacted the facility’s operations.

“At the facility, patients are being attended to by a handful of staff who depend on user fees collected from locals,’’ he said.

Dr Balyana noted that before the government’s decision, they had a total of 82 staff members. However, the entire hospital is now having only 14 staff members.

“Of the 14 staff members, there are two doctors, two midwives, an anesthetic assistant, a laboratory technician, and a visiting orthopedic surgeon,’’ he said.

Mr Richard Bomera, the chairperson of Bulembia Division, wondered why the Ministry of Health has not reinstated the hospitals operations, despite  recommendations from Parliament .

“Parliament made several recommendations last year, including staff retention, reactivation of the drug credit line, and construction of new premises for the hospital. It is baffling that the government condemned the old hospital site. Is the government showing contempt for Parliament?” Mr Bomera questioned.

Mr Zedekia Kambasu Kayiiri, the deputy town clerk of Kasese Municipal Council, revealed that the government had de-gazetted Kilembe Mines Hospital as a cost centre, indicating its reluctance to pay staff at the facility. 

Consequently, he said government had transferred staff to cost centres where they can receive salary payments.

“There is a public service reform, and the government only pays staff at cost centres. I cannot retain staff at Kilembe Mines Hospital, which is not a cost centre. Otherwise, employees there would go unpaid, and that’s unacceptable,” MrKayiiri said.

Previously, the health facility was serviced through the Essential Medicines and Health Supplies (EMHS) credit line worth Shs353.4 million from the Joint Medical Stores.

On December 2, 2022, Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, directed the deactivation of the credit line of Kilembe Mines Hospital.

Last week, local leaders told Parliament’s oversight committee on Government Assurance and Implementation to task the government to reinstate support for the facility due to its vital role in serving a large population.