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Butiaba Health Centre III Workers Living in Fear of Crocodile Attacks

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Moses Kaahwa, the Health Center In charge explains that the working condition at the facility is not good given the threats from the crocodiles.
The children and Female wards at Butiaba Health Center III that is at the verge of being submerged.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.

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Health workers at Butiaba Health Center III in Butiaba town Council in Buliisa district are living in fear of attacks by crocodiles from Lake Albert. The health workers say their lives and that if their patients admitted at the facility are in danger because of crocodiles that loiter up to the health facility.    

The crocodiles find their way into the compound of the health centre because of the destruction of the metallic fence caused by the rising water levels in the lake. Part of the fence is underwater, which gives the crocodiles chance to roam the compound of the health centre triggering panic among patients and health workers.  

Moses Kaahwa, the Health Center In-charge explains that the working condition at the facility is not good given the threats from the crocodiles. 

   

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A nurse at the facility who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity explains that most of them fear to report to work fearing attacks from the man-eaters. Beatrice Kwiyocwiny who our reporter found attending to her young child at the facility, said during night hours the crocodiles come and feed behind the children and the female ward that is also on the verge of being submerged by the rising water levels.

Dr Nelson Naisye, the Buliisa District Health officer, says the situation at Butiaba Health Center is again getting out of hand. He calls on the community or the government to immediately avail land for the construction of another health facility.

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Norah Bigirwa, the Buliisa Woman MP, says that the government through the Health Ministry should immediately intervene and set up a fully-fledged health facility for the people of Butiaba town council and sub-county respectively.

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Crocodile attacks at Butiaba landing site are common. In April 2020, a crocodile mauled 20-year old Papi Ubemu, a resident of Butiaba Landing Site. A crocodile grabbed him around 9 pm while bathing in the lake. No sooner had the deceased dived in the lake than the crocodile grabbed him.  

Bashir Hangi, the Communications manager at Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA could not be reached by the time of filing this story on what steps they were taking to stop the crocs from straying into the community and health facility since he did not respond to our repeated phone calls. In April this year, health officials in the district were compelled to close the health facility after failing to secure a better place to treatment patients from after water submerged the facility.

  In October, again water submerged the facilities prompting health authorities to relocate health services to Butiaba Primary school since pupils were away due to the lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The floods submerged staff quarters, maternity, male and female wards, store and the Outpatient Department - OPD among other areas. 

The floods also cut off roads leading to the health facility making it difficult for patients to access it.  The health centre receives 200 patients on average each day including some who come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

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