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Worry As Controversial Lubowa Hospital Completion Date Shifts To December 2024

Construction works of the hospital stand at 32%

The new completion date  for the controversial International Specialised Hospital in Lubowa has been set at December 2024. This has left a  section of lawmakers on Parliament’s Health Committee with doubts over the revised date.

While presenting the 2023/2024 ministerial policy statement for the Ministry of Health, Minister Ruth Aceng informed the Committee that works at the site stand at 32% and there has been a revision in the completion dates between the proprietor Enrica Pinetti and Government to December 2024.

“Construction is at 32% as opposed to 100%. Developers cited heavy rains, COVID-19 pandemic, cash flow and need to review the drawings as the causes of delay. New completion date is 30th December 2024,” Aceng said.

However, Samuel Opio (Kole South) queried the relevance of Lubowa Hospital pointing out that the cost of construction for Lubowa can actually create, equip and functionalise 8 new regional referral hospitals that can go a long way into increasing access to health services across the country, instead of limiting it to just Kampala.

“The target for 2024 we are seeing a two year delay but we are also seeing there is a big challenge in terms of how the whole project is being managed. This is a private sector led initiative but it is moving at a slower pace than the public sector initiative of the Uganda Cancer Institute and Uganda Heart Institute. So we still have a lot of reservations for this project itself,” said Opio.

Isaac Otimgiw (Padyere County) wondered of Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Finance and  Ministry of Health who should be blamed if the project derails given the fact that the three institutions are all in charge of the project.

“If it derails, which Ministry do we blame? I don’t know whether you are having any challenges in terms of coordination and making decisions and whether the Ministry of Health is happy that other Ministries have been brought on board,” said Otimgiw.

In March 2019, Parliament approved the request by the Ministry of Finance to issue promissory notes for the construction of a specialised hospital in Lubowa through the issuance of a promissory notes to a tune of USD379.71m approximately Shs1.433Trn and the facility was meant be constructed on 32hectares in Lubowa in Wakiso district and would be divided in four zones including; clinical, education, recreation and housing zones.

The hospital was meant to carry 54 Oncology beds, 27 infectious disease beds, 27 medical beds, 16VIP beds, eight ICU beds, as well as 60 outpatient beds, 54 surgery beds, 27 pediatrics beds, 27OBGYN beds, 16 intensive Care, 8 neo-natal ICU beds and 11 operating theatres.

The proprietors had promised to construct the hospital in two years, and later run the hospital for six years before the hospital reverts back to Government, but three years down the road, the project has been bogged with scandals despite the Ministry of Finance gifting Pinetti the developer with Shs348Bn between 2021 and 2022 and Government requested for additional Shs319Bn in the 2022/2023 current national budget, a request that Parliament rejected.

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