By Obed Kankiriho
Medical interns deployed by the Ministry of Health at Kabale regional referral hospital in Kabale district are s;eeping in outsourced places following the contractor’s failure to hand over a staff hostel at the hospital.
Last Month, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the director of medicalsServices at the Ministry of Health announced that they had received clearance to deploy medical interns to 58 internship centres spread across the country.
In accordance with the announcement, Kabale regional referral hospital has received 41 medical interns of which 5 are pharmacists, 16 nurses, and 20 doctor interns. According to the hospital director, Dr Nyeko John Philbert, they received the interns on August 3, 2023.
However, Dr Nyeko says that unfortunately, they are renting outsourced places at their own cost which risks their movement while on duty. Nyeko also says that the development has imposed costs on the hospital whereby they have been forced to incur transport costs.
“They are sleeping outside in places that are outsourced at their cost which is very unfortunate because the money we are going to pay them is small. When they are on duty, they cannot move because Kabala is unsafe at about 8-9 pm,” Dr. Nyeko said.
The staff hostel, valued at Shs7.8 billion, was funded by the government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health and construction by Musuuza Building Contractors Limited began in May 2017, with an expected completion date of June 3, 2022.
The facility, aimed to address accommodation challenges for health workers and interns houses apartments, a recreational center, a multi-purpose center, and a grocery center.
Despite the construction nearing completion, it came to light that the contractor was unwilling to hand over the structure to hospital authorities until the government settles the unpaid balance of Shs790 million shillings they incurred due to increased prices of building materials between 2020 and 2022.
Dr Nyeko, however, says that the matter requires technical people in the procurement, adding that they have contacted the Resident District Commissioner for Kabale and the security team to initiate the handover of the hostels such that medics get where to stay near the hospital. He added that once the hostel is handed over, it will help the doctors that work night shifts to get where to rest.