Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital is scheduled to reopen to the public on March 1, the principal administrator, Muhammad Mubiru has revealed. The hospital closed the outpatient, dental, optical, maternal and child care departments in March 2020 to focus on the effective management of COVID-19 patients.
Prior to its closure to the public, the hospital used to serve over three million people from within Entebbe municipality, Wakiso, Buvuma, Mpigi, Butambala and Kalangala districts. Mubiru now says the hospital will resume normal operations next week because COVID-19 patients will now be admitted at the Entebbe National Isolation Centre in Manyago.
The isolation was expected to be completed in October 2020 but it was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and approval of a new contractor when the first contractor was fired for alleged incompetence. Dr. Moses Muwanga, outgoing Director of Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital, says that they have handled over 2,300 COVID-19 patients since 2020 and have been preparing for full resumption by re-opening departments in a phased manner.
He disclosed this while receiving donations worth Shillings 50 million from Kansai Plascon, a paint company. The items include mattresses, gloves, sanitisers, basins and gift hampers containing mainly food for the over 140 hospital workers and tins of paint worth Shillings 25 million.
Muwanga lauded the company for appreciating the hospital workers and supporting its efforts to repaint sections of the hospital, particularly the wards. Mubiru disclosed that in April last year, they requested Shillings 150 million for repairs and renovations such as fixing broken taps, washing basins, broken toilet cistern covers among other items that got damaged by COVID-19 patients.
He however says the ministry of finance did not release the funds, which prompted them to do minimal repairs.
Daniel Kayongo, the Brand Manager Plascon Uganda, said the donation is part of the company’s social corporate responsibility programme. He said that Entebbe Hospital handled the first COVID-19 patient and its workers did a great job during the last two years of the pandemic.
With a capacity of 200 beds, the hospital was re-opened for less than a month last year before managed closed the hospital again when the country started battling the second wave of COVID-19 with an average of 1,000 cases daily.
In December, Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health noted that the ministry could not re-open the hospital at a time other countries were stepping up measures to contain the spread of the Omicron variant that later sparked the third wave of COVID-19 infections in Uganda.
She added that the hospital is located less than 5 kilometres from Entebbe International Airport and thereby expected to handle all travellers who test positive. Last week, the health ministry announced the end of the third wave.
Entebbe Hospital also discharged its last lot of four COVID-19 patients last Friday. There are currently no patients in the national isolation centre. Some residents are excited about the news about the hospital re-opening its inpatient and outpatient wards. On average, residents say they spend Shillings 5,000 to test for common illnesses such as malaria, typhoid and Infections at private clinics.
They currently spend over Shillings 50,000 to treat these illnesses yet tests and drugs for these illnesses are free in public facilities like Entebbe Hospital. Irene Ntege, a resident of Lunnyo village, says that Entebbe Hospital is located in the centre of the municipality and more accessible compared to the health center IIIs in Katabi-Busambaga and Kigungu village. Taxis do not operate in either place.
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