Gulu, (UG): President Yoweri Museveni has sparked fury with the Ministry of Health for delaying the construction and operationalization of the specialized modern hospital at Gulu University.
The 324-bed hospital which will stand on 20 acres of land will be funded by the Germany Export Credit Agency worth euros 155,210,000.
In his letter dated 12th July 2023, addressed to Health Minister, Hon. Ruth Aceng, His Excellency the President said he had already met a team from VAMED Engineering GmbH from Austria at the beginning of 2022 and they presented to him a proposal to build and finance a 324 Modern Specialized Hospital at Gulu University with cheaper financing supported by Government of Germany with an interest rate below 1%.
“The Interest rates are below 1% proposed for this project and the Ministry of Finance has been signing projects with interest rates that go beyond 5% in the past. This is unacceptable and such interest rates should never be signed again,” the President wrote in his letter.
Mr Museveni added that VAMED engineering needs about three years and if the Ministry had acted immediately, the hospital would be ready by the end of 2026.
The President also expressed concern asking why the project has not kicked off since its commissioning in 2022.
“Why should we delay such a project when someone is bringing such money at very low-interest rates and payable over a period of more than 10 years?”. “I directed the team headed by yourself to meet this team and up to today no report has ever come from the Ministry of Health. What happened”?
In his argument, the President said the NRM government took a deliberate decision to promote healthcare across Uganda and the people of Northern Uganda and Eastern Uganda have been travelling long distances to get better services in Kampala which at times results in death along the way and the specialized Hospital would serve the people in Northern Uganda and Eastern Uganda and even nearby Countries like South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo because of its proximity to them.
Mr Museveni ended his letter by directing the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development to liaise with the Attorney General to immediately enter into an MOU with VAMED Engineering GmbH to construct the Hospital in Gulu District specifically at Gulu University.
In his directive, the Ministry of Education and Sports represented by the Permanent Secretary is to liaise with VAMED Engineering and Gulu University to allocate the 20 acres of land to VAMED Engineering
DailyExpress has learned that on the 24th of July 2023, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Sports, Ms. Ketty Lamaro wrote to the Vice-Chancellor of Gulu University on the above asking him to confirm the availability of the 20 acres of land for the project.
Prof. Openjuru George, the Gulu University Vice-Chancellor responded immediately to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Sports in a letter dated July 31, 2023, where he thanked the President for the offer of a specialized Hospital at Gulu University and also confirmed the availability of the 20 acres of land for the project.
A copy of a letter seen by DailyExpress dated 29th August 2023 written by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health stated that the University is prepared and willing to hand over the land to the contractor.
When contacted for a comment on the development, the Gulu University Communications Officer, Mr Ojok James Onono said he has not seen any communication from the Ministry of Health.
Mr Ojok instead explained that the Vice-Chancellor was in the process of informing the Chancellor Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakan Rugunda in order to send a formal thank you message to His Excellency the President.
“Yes, this project is real and a big blessing to the people of Uganda and the neighbouring countries. Gulu University Council and Management are committed and prepared to fulfil the wish of the President to have this specialized Hospital built at Gulu University. All the key players are active in their tasks and roles.” Mr Ojok told DailyExpress.
By press time on Tuesday, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Health Ministry PRO said the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng should be contacted directly for a comment on the project, but she was reported to have been abroad.
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