JINJA – Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has said she will lobby for 13 regional heart centers in major regional referral hospitals countrywide to save patients from seeking treatment abroad, especially in India.
While speaking at World Heart Day celebrations held at Jinja District Local Government headquarter on Friday, she said: “I will support your campaign to construct 13 such facilities that will save heart patients from going to India and other countries for operations.”
She added that since the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) became autonomous, they have operated 2,000 heart patients; and as Speaker of Parliament, she will continue supporting the health sector.
The Vice Chairperson Jinja District Local Government, Ms Florence Asio, said as a district, they have given UHI land to construct a heart center.
Ms Kadaga added that she is ’embarrassed’ that construction of a government Hospital (Kagoma) can take 10 years, saying she needs answers.
Construction of Kagoma hospital, Kagoma County in Jinja District has reportedly taken long, prompting the Chairperson social service committee at the district, Mr. Junior Mbetyo, to propose that a committee of inquiry be put in place to investigate work at the Hospital.
“The problem is that the central government has failed to allocate a budget to complete the construction of this hospital; I have visited this place twice,” he said.
Ms Kadaga also proposed to have health clubs in schools, like patriotism clubs.
“I want to propose the introduction of health clubs in schools like the way government did for patriotism clubs where children will learn health issues like to help one another and market our facilities,” she said.
Ms Kadaga further tasked Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and other leaders to activate Physical Education programmed in schools for children’s health issues to be addressed.
The Minister of health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, said cardiovascular diseases, which include heart diseases and stroke, are responsible for 17.3 million premature deaths and is expected to raise to 23 million by 2030.
The UHI executive director, Dr John Omagino, said that they want develop Uganda into a medical tourism centre, fully equipped with facilities and capacities to treat patients within and across borders.