By Emmanuel Ainebyoona
President Yoweri Museveni has blamed government officials for delaying the construction of the specialized hospital at Lubowa in Wakiso District and also warned individuals claiming ownership of the land whose title is in government’s custody.
Presiding over the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the 264-bed capacity international specialized hospital of Uganda on Thursday afternoon, Museveni blamed officials from the Ministry of Health, Finance and office of the Attorney General for frustrating the investor, FANASI an Italian firm owned by Enrica Penetti.
Speaking sarcastically, the president wondered why negotiations by government officials with the investor took five years while it took him one afternoon to discuss and conclude the whole project with Ms Penetti.
Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng acknowledged the negotiation delays but said it was as a result of the hardships in changing the details of the land title and also agreeing on the hospital designs which was a requirement for financing.
According to Dr Aceng, the hospital project is a Public Private Partnership whose memorandum of understanding indicates that government will assume ownership after a period of ten years.
“The proprietor which is FINASI will run the facility for a period of 10 years, they will be responsible for the human resources, the treatment of patients and the maintenance after ten years the hospital reverts back to government,” Dr Aceng explained.
“All government officials who are referred abroad will access services from this facility but for the private patients they have a right to choose on whether to come here or go abroad but it will be cheap to save transport and accommodation costs,” she said.
He has however assured Ms Penetti that the land title for 30 acres of land in Lubowa where the hospital is to be constructed is with government.
He said the land used to be a coffee plantation belonging to a British Company known as Mitchell Courts but was later bought by government for the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC), an HIV/Aids Centre.
“We took 30 acres of this land to construct this hospital. There is no way anybody can successfully claim this land,” he said while warning individuals who claim government land to frustrate government programmes.
President Museveni observed that the establishment of this specialized hospital in the country will cut unnecessary costs of US$186 million dollars annually that Ugandans incur to travel to China and India to access medical treatment of complicated sicknesses.
“Financial hemorrhage of US$186 million dollars for treatment abroad every year from Ugandans is a free donation equivalent to 90 percent loss, which should be eliminated,” he said.