Ms Alice Nakabugo 49, a resident of Timuna Village in Kasangombe Sub-county, who lives approximately 3kms from Biddabuggya Health Centre III, describes the refurbishment and equipment of the health facility as a miracle.
The mother of four is among the many residents who, in 2016, responded to a call by the directors of Rose Namayanja Foundation to join hands in rehabilitating the dilapidated structures at Biddabuggya Health Centre III.
The facility was constructed in 1988 by World Vision, a humanitarian organisation, as part of the health service intervention for the area that had been destroyed during the five-year guerilla war in the early 1980s.
“We are happy to have a modern health centre. This will help reduce the long journeys that we always have had to make to access medical services in our area, “ Ms Nakabugo says.
She adds: “When we received the news of a community led- programme to source for local building materials to build the health centre, nobody knew that we could get such a modern facility in Biddabugya Village.”
Biddabugya Health Centre III’s new multipurpose block houses a fully-equipped laboratory, maternity ward, children and female wards, among other facilities.
Ms Kelen Musiime, the district health officer, describes the facility as a model health centre III.
“The medical equipment and the space for both the outpatients and inpatients provided make the facility a one-stop health unit. We shall ensure we support the health unit to boost service delivery to our people,” Ms Musiime explains.
While Nakaseke has other health facilities spread across the district, Ms Rose Namayanja, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party national treasurer and a director at Rose Namayanja Foundation, says the need to boost the service delivery system for communities whose respective locations are far from the health care units, was their major objective for the intervention through a community mobilisation approach.
“When directors of Rose Namayanja Foundation visited that facility in 2015, it was in a sorry state. The only existing health block was dilapidated. We had to engage the community on how to boost the health service delivery at Biddabuggya,” Ms Namanyanja reveals.
She adds: “We did not mind about the fact that the centre is owned by government. What we wanted was the improvement of the health care system because residents were trekking long distances to access medical care.”
Ms Namanyanja also reveals that Biddabuggya Health Centre III had no wards and referred several of the manageable cases to other facilities within Nakaseke District.
Mr Fred Ssebutiko Wagaba, a senior medical clinician and the officer-in-charge of the facility, says with the refurbishment, they will be able to handle 150 out patients.
“The facility has a 30-bed capacity and will ably admit and handle manageable health complications. We have 17 staff and pray that the number is boosted with an additional six staff since we already have an equipped laboratory,” Mr Wagaba says.
He adds that they attend to an average 150 patients per day.
“Before, we could not admit many patients with manageable cases due to lack of space. It is also true that we lack the accommodation facilities for our health staff, but the new multipurpose block will greatly boost the health service delivery,” he says.
Early this year, the UPDF, as part of their community service programme to mark the 39th Tarehe Sita celebration, teamed up with the Rose Namayanja Foundation to complete renovation works at Biddabuggya Health Centre III .
The health centre was constructed at the end of the Liberation War that brought President Museveni to power in 1986.
Mr Charles Nsereko Kauma, a businessman, politician and co- director at Rose Namayanja Foundation, says when the UPDF completed construction works, the foundation sourced for organisations that could help equip the new block with the different medical supplies.
“We are lucky that the facility now has a wide range of medical equipment. We have had friends like the MTN Foundation, Toyota Uganda, Sadoline Paints, among others who have helped to equip the new block. We also have excess equipment that we shall distribute to the other health units in the district,” Nsereko says.
In 2015, Ms Namayanja was involved in a nasty accident while she rushed to Nakaseke District for the commissioning of the Biddabuggya Health Centre III rehabilitation works.
The accident left the legislator walking with the support of crutches.
Namayanja says her health was restored so that she could help bring hope to the healthcare service delivery system in the district.
Nakaseke District, which is part of the Luweero Triangle, was the epicentre of the five-year guerrilla war (between 1981 and 1986) that ushered Mr Museveni ’s government to power in 1986 , but Opposition politicians have always criticised government for neglecting the area for the last 33 years.
The district has a public general hospital located at Nakaseke Town Council and Kiwoko Hospital, a privately-run missionary facility managed by Church of Uganda under Luweero Diocese.
It also has two health centre IV facilities and seven health centre III units located in the different sub-counties within the district.
A couple of years ago , the district authorities endorsed a proposal to have patients pay standard fees for services at the private wing of the general hospital.
According to the revised fees structure, a mother seeking normal delivery from the private wing will pay Shs24,000, whereas those at the general wards pay Shs15,000 for the same service.
For caesarean section, patients part with Shs60,000 at the private wing, and Shs30,000 at the general wards.
Other listed charges include hernia repair (Shs60,000), laparotomy (surgical procedure involving a large incision through the abdominal wall) (Shs90,000), consultation (Shs5,000) and X-ray, Shs10,000.
Staying in a single room per night at the private wing costs Shs15, 000, while a double room per night will go for Shs20,000.