Dr. Diana Atwine, the MOH Permanent Secretary is optimistic that the center will be open by next month. She however says the ministry has asked for an additional Shillings 1.8 billion (500,000 US Dollars) for the completion of the project and the one under Mulago National Specialized Hospital.
At least 95
percent of the renovation works at National Isolation Centre in Entebbe are
complete, the Ministry of Health-MOH has revealed. Patrick Rubongoya, the
project manager, says the remaining works including the remodelling of the
former tuberculosis ward, floor works, painting and fixing machines are most
likely to be completed by the end of this month.
isolation centre in Manyago village in Entebbe Municipality was set up in 2009
to handle medical emergencies that require isolation. It has been managing
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Sars and Ebola cases. In 2015, the World Bank
supported the revamping of the center at a tune of Shillings 3 billion.
However, renovation works began in October 2019 with Synergy
Enterprises Ltd as the initial contractor. MOH expected the project to end by
June 2020. However, this didn’t happen because of disruptions resulting
from the Covid-19 lockdown. As a result, the ministry extended the completion
deadline by two months. The works stalled in September after MOH fired Synergy
Enterprises Ltd for failing to meet deadline and use the specified building
As a result, MOH sourced a new contractor after getting
clearance from the World Bank and the Solicitor General in late December. The
Ministry then contracted BMK Uganda Ltd. The works resumed in late January. BMK
Uganda Ltd has up to the end of April to complete the project.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the MOH Permanent Secretary is optimistic that the center
will be open by next month. She however says the ministry has asked for an additional
Shillings 1.8 billion (500,000 US Dollars) for the completion of the project
and the one under Mulago National Specialized Hospital.
The loan request, approved by the cabinet, is now being
scrutinized by the Committee on the National Economy of parliament. Atwine
explains that the two national isolation centres will be the first call for infectious
//Cue in: “We are about…
Cue out:…with those ones.”//
In January, Eng. George Otim, the commissioner of health infrastructure in the Health
Ministry said that the contractor was expected to expedite works on the medical
building, which includes the laboratory, wards, intensive care unit, mortuary
and laundry rooms and complete them by February.
He explained that this arrangement would enable Entebbe
Hospital to admit COVID-19 patients at the facility as works continue at the
former TB ward. At the time of the takeover, the overall progress of the
project was at 70 per cent completion rate.
When URN visited the site on Tuesday, 10 workers were plastering the walls of
the former TB ward while others were planting grass near the public parking
area. Henry Ssuubi, the site engineer
from BMK Uganda Ltd, says that the medical building is complete.
said they had completed the decontamination of the chamber to ensure waste flow
into the national sewerage system is safe. The chamber is 3.6 meters deep and 11.6 meters long.
of the pending works however include fixing laboratory equipment, 3 two-body
refrigerated cabinets among others, and remodelling the TB ward. Ssubi says a
total of 80 workers are on the site to expedite the works. Once completed, Entebbe Hospital will transfer all its coronavirus patients and
suspects to the isolation center.
The hospital used to serve a population of
over one million from Entebbe, Kalangala, Katabi town council among other areas
before it was turned into a COVID-19 management facility in late March. The
isolation center will accommodate 50 to 100 beds and relieve Entebbe hospital
and other regional hospitals that are currently overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.