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DR ACENG COMMISSIONS STATE-OF-THE-ART ARUA OPD

The New OPD and casualty unit for Arua hospital

BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU

ARUA: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 08, 2021

The Minister of health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has commissioned a state-of-the-art outpatients department and casualty ward for Arua referral hospital.

“I thank the government of Japan and JICA for this gift of a beautiful OPD, casualty wing and medical unit,” an elated Dr Aceng said.

JICA is the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

Dr Aceng declared that the magnificent building cost sh36b while an array of top tier medical equipment including autoclave, general X-ray machine, dental X-ray, chemical monitors, 12 high dependence hospital beds  and 12 patient monitors were also supplied as part of the project at an additional sh5b.

Some of the high dependence beds for the new facility

The others are a 100 KV generator and an ambulance to transport patients from lower health units to Arua hospital.

It is one of the three projects that the Japanese have financed with a total of sh101.84b grant through the JICA to improve infrastructure and equipment at Arua, Gulu and Lira regional referral hospitals that the minister has also commissioned.

Implemented under the “improvement of regional referral hospitals in northern Uganda programme,” the projects were contracted to Iwata Chizaki that in-turn subcontracted the Excel Construction Company while Yokogawa Architects provided consultancy.

The complex has two x-ray rooms plus one control room, a laboratory, a pharmacy, minor theater, HIV/AIDS screening unit for most-at-risk populations, specialized clinics, treatment rooms, dental clinic and dental x-ray and an intensive care unit room.

“When you are given a lot of money, you need to reciprocate by doing good work. Lira and Arua specifically have received very modern X-ray machines. We need to maintain these machines,” Dr Aceng told the hospital administration.

Dr Jane Ruth Aceng interacts with the Japanese officials during the commissioning of the new unit

However, the medical workers would not be able to use the digital imaging system in the short run because the Local Area Network (LAN) system has not been installed and the Autoclave machine would also be redundant due to lack of adequate electricity.

Dr Aceng urged the hospital management to expeditiously work on that installation of the LAN while pledging that the ministry of health will support extension of a phase three electricity line to power the hospital.

She appealed to the hospital administration to take care of the facility and its equipment, voicing frustration that Arua hospital has a bad track record of theft of hospital equipment.

Recently a new ambulance was stolen from Arua hospital and reportedly driven by the thieves to Democratic Republic of Congo and during the project implementation, one printer, three laptops and four desktop computers that were being used for monitoring and executing project activities vanished without trace.

“Do you want us always to come here only to talk about theft? I am worried that after I have left the autoclave, these beds and even the ambulance will be stolen,” Dr Aceng said.

Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of ministry of health asked the hospital staff to use the facility to serve the people.

“You now have some of the best equipment in the country. Our people are poor and I don’t want to hear someone complaining that I have been charged illegally for dental x-ray scan etc,” he said.

Uchiyama Takayuki, the JICA chief representative to Uganda said the impact of the project would create in the region cannot be understated.

He noted that West Nile hosts one of the biggest refugee populations and is bordering South Sudan and DR Congo where epidemics are endemic.

“There is no border to infectious diseases. Therefore Arua hospital should always be prepared for emergency outbreaks. This OPD facility should improve the capacity to respond to emergencies and treat the refugees,” he said.

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