By: Joyce Babirye and Vincent Kisirinko
During the Monitoring of service delivery in Kalaki District, the Minister of State for Teso Affairs Hon. Dr. Ongalo-Obote Clement Kenneth revealed government plans to intensify strategic interventions in addressing people’s needs as demonstrated in the previous and ongoing programs across the region and the country at large as aligned to the Third National Development Plan and the National Resistance Movement Manifesto.
Hon. Minister Ongalo Obote delivered a class ‘B’ ambulance to Kalaki Health Center IV which was bought by the Ministry of Teso Affairs under the Office of the Prime Minister at of 228 million shilling. Minister Ongalo said that, ” This ambulance was bought by the Ministry of Teso Affairs for people of Kalaki district to ease the transporting patients from villages to health centers and to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital when it’s necessary”. He added that this was part of government’s efforts to improve health in the region.
Kalaki District Health Officer, Ms. Harriet Atim said that the ambulance would be a game changer for health services in the district especially on referrals since transportation of patients was hectic due to absence of swift means to transport patients who are referred to bigger hospitals. “We have had a vacuum of ambulance services in the district since the breakdown of the one that Hon. Minister Ongalo had bought for the district in 2019. The newly acquired ambulance will fill that vacuum” she said. She thanked the Minister and OPM for the intervention.
The Kalaki District Chairperson Samuel Okello also requested the district health authorities to tell the people how they would be fueling the ambulance to transport patients because the people thought the district had a fuel budget which was not the case. “Tell the people where the fuel to transport patients in this new ambulance will be got from because they may think it’s provided which is not the case” said Mr. Okello. In her response, the Chief Administrative Officer for Kalaki District, Pauline Epodo Okello explained that the ambulance will be fueled through a cost sharing arrangement were the district will pay bills for the the driver and nurse assigned to the ambulance and patients will contribute to the fuel costs to transport their patients.
The Minister cautioned Kalaki District authorities against misuse of the ambulance as seen in other places across the country where ambulances are found transporting construction materials like bricks, cement and silver fish. ” This ambulance has been brought here to strictly transport patients and it’s monitored by the Ministry of Health. Once they see you are misusing it, it will be recalled. Therefore, carefully monitor its operations and stick to the reason for its deployment”
The Minister advised the communities to monitor government programs and to report corrupt tendencies where he referred to the Abalanga – Adamakan – Surambaya – Matomuwa Road for which construction works he said were shoddy and officials responsible for it should be investigated. The Minister added that similar corruption reports had been cited in the District Service Commission method of work and in health facilities where drugs were being stolen.
Hon. Ongalo 0bote also represented the Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni at the National Teacher’s Day celebrations held at Kalaki Secondary School where he emphasized government’s commitment to improve the education sector starting with conditions and welfare of teachers. He informed the gathering that that government was expediting the Teacher’s bill and the National Teacher’s Policy to actualize its positive plans to the education sector.
Teso sub region consists of nine districts that namely; Soroti, Katakwi, Kaberamaido, Kumi, Amuria, Kaperebyong, Kalaki, Ngora and Bukedea under the stewardship of the Ministry of Teso Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Since the establishment of the Ministry for Teso Affairs, government has fostered the implementation of programs to uplift the social welfare of the people in those districts to cause social-economic transformation and quality service delivery in areas of health, education, transport infrastructure, economic empowerment, youth empowerment programs among others.