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Uganda: Health workers appeal to MPs for better working conditions

Jinja, Uganda – Health workers in eastern Uganda have asked the parliamentary health committee to push for better working conditions, citing dilapidated hospital structures and poor housing as serious concerns.

Buyende District Health Officer (DHO), Dr. Frederick Daniel Isabirye, said his district, like others in eastern Uganda, is enduring challenges of limited space and structures whose they feared that they would soon collapse and asked for the intervention of Parliament to find solutions.

“There is a serious need to improve the working conditions of health workers in most health facilities in eastern Uganda; limited working space coupled with very old dilapidated structures are challenges major in service delivery,” he said.

MPs on the health committee headed by Vice President Joseph Ruyonga are assessing conditions at health centers in eastern Uganda to inform renovation plans.

In Jinja, Dr Stephen Banonya said that given the town’s proximity to a busy and accident-prone highway, a blood bank is urgently needed for medical emergencies.

“We have a lot of accidents on the Kampala-Jinja road [and there is] the increase in cases of malaria associated with many pregnant women; [this] needs a blood bank to help save lives,” he said.

On the housing crisis, Dr Banonya said staff, married with children, are being forced to share accommodation with colleagues, a situation which he says requires urgent action by MPs.

The MPs visited Bugembe IV Health Center, Wakitaka III Health Center, Kaliro III Town Health Center among others spread across Kaliro, Jinja and Buyende districts.

Others included Irundu III health center in Kagulu sub-county and Buyende III health center.

In Kaliro, MPs were shocked to find that the Kaliro III town health center has been housed for 18 years in rented premises, vowing to push for the construction of the hospital’s permanent premises.

Mary Annet Nakato, MP for Buyende, said parliament should support Buyende’s efforts to acquire a district hospital.

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