By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The ministry of health has given BMK Uganda Ltd a week within which to handover the National Isolation Centre in Manyago, Entebbe municipality.
The Isolation center is an extension of the Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital meant to handle patients with chronic illnesses such as Ebola, Marburg, among others.
The renovation works, funded by the World Bank at the tune of Ugx 3 billion commenced in October 2019. The work however stalled initially for two months during the total lockdown following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and only resumed in June 2020.
However, from September 2020, the works stalled again after the ministry cancelled the contract of Synergy Enterprises Ltd for alleged incompetence and lack of capacity to finance works. The work resumed in January 2021 after the World Bank and the Solicitor General approved the award of the contract to BMK Uganda Ltd for completion of the project
Eng. George Otim the Commissioner Health infrastructure at the health ministry noted that the overall progress of the project is at 99% because the contractor has to fix some mechanical works within the medical building and block C that houses the mortuary, pathologist’s office, janitor’s office and the laundry.
Otim added that some of the faulty items, such as substandard toilet pans, broken tiles, poor finishing on walls, were identified three months ago.
However, after Dr. Diana Atwine the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of health and other ministry officials made an on spot inspection in early July, the contractor was given a month to fix errors and also make modifications in the ICU block so that patients are not crowded in the unit.
Juma Bright, a representative from BMK Uganda Ltd says his team will do whatever it takes to complete the work and handover the project by Monday, next week.
Dr. Moses Muwanga, the director Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital, says the contractor should complete the work within a week. “Let one week be one week because the local leaders and the community keep asking when we shall reopen the hospital.”
Ministry of Health contracted BMK Uganda Ltd to refurbish the isolation center and complete the works by April this year. However, due to delays in approving plans for remodeling the Tuberculosis ward, the completion date was pushed to May. The contractor was expected to hand over the site on June 11.
A member of the contractors’ team told this website that among utilities that have not been fixed include a washroom, the ICU sink. “We had to damage the already done work so as to fix things that were not part of the agreement. Also, the washing machine has not yet been installed and the soap dishes,” the source says.
However, by June 11, the contractor the isolation center had not yet completed plumbing and electrical works in some of the buildings and former TB ward. As a result, the ministry gave the company a week to complete the works and hand over the site.
The isolation center was constructed in 2009 for infectious disease control such as SARS and Ebola. The World Bank and MOH decided to renovate the center to create more space for intensive care, separate rooms for suspects and patients, laboratories and separate entry and exit points for the public and health workers.