March 3, 2024

Patients stuck as NWSC cut off Hoima Regional Referral Hospital from Water supply

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HOIMA

Patients at Hoima regional referral hospital are stuck without water following a severe water crisis that has hit the hospital leaving patients and their attendants stranded. 

The development follows a disconnection of the facility by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) over accumulated water bills.

Ibrahim Masereka, an attendant to a patient at the referral hospital said on Tuesday that they trek long distances to get water or pay between shillings 1,000 and 1500 to boda boda riders to bring them water.

According to the health ministry, Hoima Regional Referral Hospital offers services to over one million people in over nine districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kagadi, Kakumiro, Kibale, Hoima City, Masindi, Kiryandongo and Buliisa.

On June 2, 2023, Eng. Johnson Amayo, on behalf of NWSC managing director, wrote to the finance ministry permanent secretary informing him about the arrears and the disconnection order.

According to Amayo, the other facilities which have been disconnected are China-Uganda Friendship Naguru and Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital.

“We wish to bring to your attention that the above hospitals were disconnected due to accumulated arrears covering the periods from July 2022 to March 2023. The amount in question, therefore, does not form part of the verified arrears which the Government is committed to clear in the medium term,” reads part of the letter.

At Hoima, some of the patients who don’t have the money to buy water from outside the facility are facing difficulty. According to NWSC, the facility has not paid an outstanding bill of over shillings 150 million that they are demanding.

Joy Mugisa, a caregiver, said since last week, they have not been having water at the facility and as a result, many people are suffering.

“We are over 150 people in the pediatric ward and we have not had water since the weekend. Some people are sleeping without bathing,” Mugisa said.

She added that the water in the tanks at the hospital is not enough to run the entire facility and that there was a need to reconnect the water at the facility.

William Kasigazi, the deputy Resident City Commissioner for Hoima East Division, said the bills have been accumulating over the years and said that as leaders, they are engaging all stakeholders so as to ensure that water is reconnected.

The hospital has started depending on rainwater in the tanks which is not enough since it has not been raining.

Paul Ajuk, the senior hospital administrator, said the Government releases less money to the facility every quarter for operations. Ajuk said management is doing all it can to ensure that the problem is solved and water is restored.

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