Residents of Kilembe and persons seeking medical services at Kilembe Mines Hospital in Kasese are asking government to fully equip the hospital to better service delivery in the area.
The residents have said government should move quickly to equip the hospital with good medical equipment.
Kilembe mines hospital permanently shifted to Kasese town in June 2021 after it suffered two waves of flash floods on May 7 and on May 10 in 2020.
The Tri-partite arrangement between the Government of Uganda, Kilembe Mines Ltd and Kasese Catholic Diocese came to an end in April this year.
Kilembe mines then offered some of its old structures adjacent to those destroyed by floods to accommodate the hospital while the diocese opted to continue its services as St. Mary’s hospital in Kasese town.
But residents in Kilembe and the surrounding areas say they are being referred to other health centers in town for medical examination and treatment because the hospital lacks enough medical equipment, space and drugs.
Medical workers at the facility also told our reporter that the number of patients is increasing which calls more medical supplies and staffing.
Dorecka Masika, a resident of Kilembe says the return of the health facility in the area has not yet addressed their plight of inadequate health services since 2020. She says pregnant women who require extra medical care are still being referred to other health centres in town for better management.
Samson Kathembo, a patient said he left Mbuga sub county anticipating to find X-ray services at the facility, but he was directed to St. Mary’s hospital which needed money and he didnot have. He blames leaders at the national level of failing to appreciate the health service challenges of the area.
“All top ministers and the vice president herself have been here. It’s two years now but they all seem to have forgotten about our problem and as such there is very low response from government,” says Kathembo.
Joyce Maloba, another resident says they have demanded for elevation of Kilembe HC to support health service in their area but this has been in vein. She adds that pregnant mothers have to trek from as far as the mountainous Mbuga Sub County to Kasese Municipality to access maternal services amidst the raising transport fares.
Patrick Samusanghara, the councilor of Kyanjuki ward to the municipality, says that the area has an estimated 70,000 people justifying the need to equip the hospital better.He also wants government to consider equipping the facility with new modern machines.
A worker at the facility who preferred not to be named because he is not the official spokesperson says there is no clear direction regarding when government will equip the hospital. He reasons that there is no justification to delay this process since there were no terms and condition when the hospital was transferred to kasese town after the 2020 floods.
Another worker blames local leaders of failing to guide government on what to do even when they are witnessing immense health challenges in the area.
But the Kasese Resident District Commissioner-RDC, Lt. Joe Walusimbi says the process of transferring all equipment’s will be handled in a phased manner and it would involve all stakeholders including the Ministry of Health and the diocese. He says he consulted the director of planning in Ministry of health and he was guided to hold on the planned transfer of equipment.
Walusimbi however says the director also informed him that the transfer of the hospital does not mean that automatically it will have more funds and drugs.
Reverends Sister Topista Basemera, the senior administrator Kilembe Mines Hospital earlier told our reporter that the process of ending the tripartite agreement is taking the right direction but was not ready to divulge more details.