The current Kanungu LC5 chairperson Josephine Kasya and numerous district leaders are still very close with former PM Amama Mbabazi and seen as frustrating the NRM gov’t programmes
The appointment of Dr Diana Atwiine as the new Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health brings a ray of hope to locals in Kanungu District. Under her predecessor Dr. Asuman Lukwago, district leadership have nicked funds Shs 400 million from this financial year’s budget which was meant for the renovation of depilated Kambuga Hospital built by the first Obote regime in 1960s.
With Dr. Atwine, there is a key difference here. She has been serving as the head of State House Health Monitoring Unit that uses intelligence to crack down on drug theft in public health facilities, Dr. Lukwago was busy fighting his person wars with the new Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng and quiet not doing his job like sort Kambuga issues.
According to reliable sources indicate that funds have been hijacked by the district leadership who want the funds to be used in the renovation of the lower health facilities in the district which contracts they mean to offer themselves beside gaining political capital.
A whistleblower told TheUgandan that Kanungu District leadership under the chairmanship of Canon Josephine Kasya, the Secretary for Social Services Frank Byaruhanga and the Chief Administrative Officer Chrysostom Kayiise decided that the funds which were recently released be used to renovate Health Center IIs and IIIs which are deemed to be in much more need of refurbishment.
TheUgandan has also learnt that that the district initially received Shs 300million which was wired directly on Kambuga Hospital account but not much was done with the funds which prompted the present decision to divert this year’s funds.
Kanungu policymaker and current Kinkizi East MP, Hon Dr. Chris Baryomunsi who is also the Minister for Housing and Urban Development is grilling the District leaders and insists the money was specifically released by the government for renovation of Kambuga Hospital and as such it should not be used anywhere else.
In an unofficial note seen by TheUgandan that Hon. Baryomunsi wrote while on a foreign trip in Ecuador addressed to the Health Ministery PS Asuman Lukwago, asked him to object to the request by the district leaders who want the funds diverted elsewhere asserting that Kambuga Hospital itself was in dire need of the funds basing the poor situation it is in presently.
The Principal Economist in the Ministry of Health Richard Kabagambe Tureebe, tried to explain to this news website that a meeting was last week held to form a task force so that hospitals like Kambuga sign a memorandum of understanding to manage the funds directly and be accountable to the ministry as one way of stopping conflicts between hospital management and District Local government leaders.
Another communication from the Ministry of Health indicates that the government has been in a process of getting a development partner to secure funds for rehabilitation of the facility but this has not yet yielded results.
“The hospital is in very bad state, I think it would be good to use the funds for some crucial work at Kambuga Hospital first and actually more money is needed and a review of how the previous fund were utilized should also be made,” Mr. Kabagambe’s communication read in parts.
As the bickering goes on, Kanungu LC 5 Chairperson Josephine Kasya in his defence says that the money is not missing but is to be used in priority areas and the district leaders are still seeking the Ministry of Health permission to do so.
“Who said that the money has gone missing or been diverted when it is not yet been released,” Ms. Kasya stated to TheUgandan when contacted through a phone call.
Chief Administrative Officer Chrysostom Kayiise however acknowledged that the district leaders have asked him to write to the Ministry to allow them use the money elsewhere according to priority needs in the health sector.
The feeling among Kanungu residents is that its corrupt and suspicious for their leaders to seek permission from the ministry to divert the funds yet Kambuga Hospital deserves the funds in the first place both physically and workforce-wise, to perform. The residents are aware that the district bosses also always offer those Health Centre IIs’ renovation contracts to their pseudo companies.
Ironically, the same district leadership is currently embroiled in another financial mismanagement of NAADS funds for procurement of tea and coffee seedlings worth over Shs 40 billion.
According to the District Health Office (DHO) figures, 33.3 per cent of the positions in HC IIs, 47.6 per cent (HC III) and 50 per cent of the staff positions in HC IVs are not filled. The positions are: nursing assistants (42), clinical officers (15), enrolled nurses (13),enrolled midwives (six), dental staff (one), nursing officers (two) and medical officers (four).
Besides staff shortage, Kambuga and many of the health centres do not have adequate beds and mattresses for the expectant women. Some patients have to carry beddings to the health centres.