By Matthew Okello
A landlord in Nangongera Sub County, Tororo District has stopped the commissioning of a Health Center III because the district authorities have not cleared a land purchase balance of Shs35M.
Consequently, Tororo district local government is stuck with the commissioning of Katajula Health Center III after the district has failed to clear the balance of land purchase hosting the facility.
The construction of Katajula health center Ill comprising a fully fledged maternity ward, Out Patient department and a general ward commenced in 2021 and was completed in 2022 by Yonjin construction.
This project was done by the ministry of health under Uganda Reproductive maternal and child health improvement project funded by Global financing facility and International development Agency.
Under this project, the district or the local administrative unit which was Nangongera Sub County was supposed to provide land where the facility could sit. The district then identified land in Katajula parish with a yet to be known total amount of purchase.
The Tororo district chairperson, John Okea confirmed the debt of Shs35million that he says has stalled the commissioning of the facility.
Asked why the district has failed to pay the money, Okea said that the district is currently receiving small local revenue which they have to prioritize between paying the district council allowance and development.
Okea with pain noted that if the district prioritizes service delivery including paying the Shs35million of Katajula health center Ill and fail to pay the councilors, they will most likely boycott council making the running of the district hard.
He however said that the district is going to struggle to look for some money to clear the land arrears so that the district can get back this facility to their hands.
The district chairperson has now asked the ministry of health to incorporate land acquisition in these projects so that the district is not left to struggle.
Meanwhile back in Katajula, residents are saying that delay to hand over the facility is causing misery and suffering in the area in terms of access to health facilities.
Grace Anyango, 54, told eastnews that the lack of health center Ill in the area is mostly felt by expectant mothers who have to travel in the dark to go and seek for delivery services in Nangongera health center IV.
Centurion Obbo, another resident we found taking his child to Katajula was skeptical whether he would get the required services from Katajula health center II hence stressing the need of health center III in the area.
Ofiaso Oyapa, vice LCI chairperson of Kandi zone, wondered why the district has failed to pay Shs35million to have the hospital redeemed yet money is always available for councilors to go on unyielding tours.
The LCIII chairperson of Katajula sub county, Betty Ochwo, asked the district to fasten the debt payment process because she is tired of transporting expectant mothers at night to Nangongera health center IV.