Kabale Regional Referral Hospital (KRRH) held a crisis meeting on Monday afternoon following a series of attacks on four trainee doctors. These health care workers, who are keen to join the hospital to serve the community, find themselves under threat as they live in rented housing away from the hospital and are targeted by criminals.
Due to the urgent need to address safety concerns, the intern doctors contacted the Residential District Commissioner in Kabale, Godfrey Nyakahuma, seeking information on the intern housing project that had been completed but had not yet been handed over by the contractor to the hospital management. situation. This delay forces interns to seek other housing options, leaving them vulnerable to these unfortunate attacks.
KRRH head of interns, Dr Osinde Ochieng, expressed his anguish at the crisis meeting and revealed that the attack occurred just three weeks after the interns reported to the hospital. Their sense of security was shattered when valuables, including a laptop, were stolen.
“We are scared. Our colleagues were attacked and their property was stolen. We are lucky that no one lost their lives, but this should not have happened,” Dr Ochieng said. “It affects how we deliver services because at the end of the night you’re wondering how you’re going to get back to your rental. You’re treating a patient but you’re thinking about leaving your home, whether your house is safe or not. Are there thugs waiting on the road? Were you safe the night I attacked you and headed to your rental.”
Notably, last month, the government sent a team of 41 medical interns to the hospital, likely to occupy vacant dormitories. However, since the housing problem of intern doctors has not yet been resolved, they can only rent rooms outside the hospital.
Dr Rodney Tabaruka, senior pharmacist at KRRH, acknowledged the validity of the concerns raised by the trainee doctors and expressed optimism that a resolution would be reached quickly.
Meanwhile, Kabale Neighborhood Commissioner Godfrey Nyakahuma expressed concern over the delay in providing accommodation for intern doctors at the hospital. He revealed that the director of the hospital, Dr Filbert Nico, had traveled to Kampala to meet with Ministry of Health authorities to address similar issues in the hope of a speedy resolution. He also hinted at the possibility of escalating the matter to the Presidency and called for an inter-ministerial meeting involving the Presidency, the Ministry of Security and the Ministry of Health to resolve the issue once and for all.
Musuza Building Contractors Limited, the construction company responsible for housing the intern doctors, refused to hand over the completed houses due to non-payment of a total of Sh790 million. These additional costs were incurred during the construction process and the Sh7.8 billion hotel has received government funding through the Ministry of Health. Construction began in May 2017 and was originally scheduled to end on June 3 of the previous year.
Designed to alleviate accommodation challenges faced by health workers and medical interns, the soon-to-be-completed facility features apartments, a recreation centre, a multi-purpose center and a grocery centre.
Musuza Building Contractors explained that work has come to a standstill due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdown and all relevant authorities have been duly informed. The company claims that they will not hand over the completed structures until the outstanding payments are settled by the government.
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