The ministry of Health has begun the process to construct two referral hospitals in Kampala City, a move that could address the overcrowding problem at Mulago Hospital.
Mulago is the only government referral facility in the city.
Asuman Lukwago, acting Permanent Secretary has announced that the ministry is presently receiving bids for the construction of the proposed Kawempe and Kiruddu general referral hospitals in Kawempe and Makindye divisions respectively.
Lukwago said in a statement that government had received money from the African Development Fund and the Nigerian Trust Fund to facilitate the improvement of health services delivery at Mulago Hospital and Kampala City in general.
He added that part of the loan would be used to meet the costs for the construction of the two referral hospitals as a measure to reduce congestion at the Mulago national referral hospital. The eventual contractor, cost and duration of the construction for Kawempe and Kiruddu hospitals is expected to be announced on June 27 when the bids for the work are opened.
The addition of the two referral hospitals in Kampala city is expected to improve the delivery of health service by offering options from the present only government referral hospital at Mulago, where hundreds of patients go everyday from both the city and up country health facilities.
Jennifer Semakula Musisi, the Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority, says the city has 11 health units that were constructed in 1937 to provide primary health care to citizens. She adds that presently, the demand for health services has outstripped the capacity of the facilities due to rapid urbanization.
In a recent report, Musisi said Kampala has a night population of two million that increases to 4.5 million people during the day. She explained that public health facilities in Kampala City contribute one percent of the total health facilities in the City yet receive about 30 percent of the outpatient load in the City, the other being private profit and non-profit facilities.
The plan to construct the Kawempe and Kiruddu referral hospitals has been pending for years. In 2011, President Yoweri Museveni announced in a State of the Nation address that plans to de-congest Mulago national referral hospital through construction of three satellite hospitals at Naguru in Nakawa Division, Kawempe in Kawempe Division and Kiruddu in Makindye Division had been concluded. Three years later, government now says it has acquired funding and is embarking on a process to construct two of the three proposed referral hospitals.