UGANDA – The Ministry of Health will acquire land throughout the country to expand national referral hospitals and health training facilities.

The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Aceng, who appeared before the Committee on Health to defend proposals in the 2022/2023 Budget Framework Paper, stated that there is a need for the expansion of health training institutions and referral hospitals due to an increase in demand for health services as a result of the growing population.

She stated that referral hospitals serve regions and that the ministry is introducing previously unavailable services and expanding small infrastructure, which necessitates land acquisition.

Aceng said, “We are providing the facilities with a development budget and they are advised to set their priorities as per resources available and the regional maintenance workshops is one of them.”

She also stated that regional referral hospitals have been advised to prioritize expansions within the funds available through the retooling project in a phased manner.

According to Dr. Aceng, as part of the expansion, the ministry has constructed staff housing, a project that is still ongoing in all 124 Health Centre that were upgraded in 2018/19.

“These received UGShs150 million (US$42536.33) each for the construction of twin-two-bedroom staff houses,” she added.

Hon Yusuf Nsibambi stated that the ministry must resolve some issues concerning the land on which many of the hospitals are built.

In my previous job, we noticed that these hospitals are on untitled land and bordered by land grabbers who keep encroaching on the land,” he said.

Nsibambi advised that all hospitals, including Mulago National Referral Hospital, have their land surveyed and boundaries opened up in order to ward off encroachers and create more usable land.

Dr. Charles Ayume, the Committee’s Chairperson, also requested that resources be prioritized for retooling and maintenance of health facilities and their equipment.

We cannot focus on building new facilities alone without maintaining the facilities that exist; there should not be situation where MRI scanners do not work for six months,” he added.

In other related news, Makerere University has asked for UGShs 300 billion (US$85,072,654) to build a university teaching hospital and dental school.

The request is included in its Budget Framework Paper for Fiscal Year 2022/2023, which it presented to Parliament.

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor, stated that this will relieve students from the overcrowded Mulago Hospital, where most universities train their students.

Nawangwe also requested Shs 80 billion (US$22.7 million) from MPs for the construction of a student and business innovation center where researchers can go to incubate their innovations.

Makerere University is also seeking Shs 12 billion (US$3.40 million) to improve staff units, Shs 40 billion (US$11.3 million) for graduate student housing, and Shs 5.6 billion (US$1.6 million) to facilitate staff promotion so that the university can realize its dream of being research-driven.

The MPs, on the other hand, were concerned about the delay in the construction of the perimeter wall, which they claim has created insecurity at the university.

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