Majority of lower government health centres are facing a water
crisis which is affecting health services.
According to preliminary findings of Primary Health Care Performance National
survey 2019, only 30% health centre II’s and 50% of health centre III’s have
access to water across the country.
The survey further reveals that less than 10% of drug shops have access to
However, the survey revealed that over 80% health centre IVs and
90% of hospital had access to water.
The survey was conducted by Makerere University School of Public Health in 398
health centres of which 57% public, 36% private, 12% hospitals and 26% chemists
or drug shops.
Dr Elizabeth Nabiwemba of Makerere University School of Public Health explains
that water is not required for only operations but for sanitation and preventing
diseases at the health centres.
Nabiwemba says that the absence of water at the facilities affects many
Ugandans seeking primary health care services. She says that there was need for
government to address the problem.
She explains that some health workers use sanitizers to clean hands after
operations while patients are asked to carry water to the facility.
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In Luweero local leaders and health workers have admitted that there was water
shortage especially at health centre II and IIIs across the district.
There are 39 government health centres in Luweero district of which two are
health centre IVs and one hospital. At least 13 health centers in Luweero
have no access to water.
Joseph Sserugo, the Vice-Chairperson of Luweero district says that it’s unfortunate
the water tanks acquired to address the problem in some health centres were
vandalized by residents.
Sserugo adds that communities are equally water-stressed and the water tanks were vandalized after they were found locked by health workers.
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Some health workers say they buy water from vendors for critical operations
like cleaning or washing but sometimes they run out of water for such costs.
Doctor Innocent Nkonwa the Luweero District Health Officer says that it has
been difficult to drill boreholes at certain health centres because they are
located in areas with no water underground.
Nkonwa says that the district has now partnered with National Water Sewerage
Corporation to ensure water is extended to such areas to handle the problem.
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The survey was conducted by Makerere University School of Public Health with
support from Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproduction,
Ariadne Labs, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Performance
Monitoring for Action-Uganda.