BY ARINDA NSHEKA
In a puzzling development, Musuuza Building Contractors Limited, the construction company responsible for the intern doctors’ hostel at Kabale Regional Referral Hospital (KRRH), has stationed private security guards at the premises and denied access to hospital authorities. The reasons behind this move remain undisclosed, leaving hospital officials and the public in the dark about the situation.
This unusual action comes three weeks after the Ministry of Health dispatched a team of 41 medical interns to KRRH, who found themselves without accommodation and were compelled to seek lodging far from the hospital. Shockingly, four of these intern doctors had been targeted in attacks at their rented accommodations, further exacerbating concerns about their safety.
Efforts to obtain a comment from the deployed security guards proved futile, as they declined to provide any information and requested to communicate with the contractor. Regrettably, attempts to reach the contractor for clarification were unsuccessful, as their known contacts were unavailable when contacted by our reporter.
The intern hostel, valued at 7.8 billion Shillings, was funded by the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health. Construction commenced in May 2017, with a scheduled completion date of June 3, 2022. The facility was intended to address the pressing accommodation challenges faced by healthcare workers and interns at KRRH, offering a range of amenities, including apartments, a recreational center, a multi-purpose center, and a grocery store.
Despite the completion of construction, the contractor, Musuuza Building Contractors, has adamantly refused to hand over the structure to the hospital authorities.
They attribute their decision to unpaid extra expenditures amounting to 790 million Shillings incurred during the construction process. The company cites challenges brought about by the COVID-19 lockdown and the surge in building material prices between 2020 and 2022 as contributing factors to these additional costs. They firmly maintain that they will not relinquish control of the facility until the outstanding balance is settled by the hospital and government.
When contacted Emmanuel Ainebyona the Ministry of Health Communications Officer said there were some issues but were sorted and the Hostels are going to be opened in the meantime.