Officials at the Ministry of Health (MoH) believe the health sector stands a chance to benefit from the fortunes of the oil and gas sector.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health (MoH) recently led a team from the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) and the Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders in an assessment of the health facilities along the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) corridor.
“The objective of this visit is to evaluate the readiness of the existing health facilities in the ten districts along the EACOP route to provide the required health services given the expected influx of people during the construction phase; identify the gaps and plan strategic interventions in order to address them”, Dr. Atwine said.
The team visited the health facilities in Gomba, Ssembabule, Lwengo, Rakai and Kyotera districts. The health facilities in Nwoya, Buliisa, Kikuube, Hoima, Kakumiro and Mubende districts were previously assessed in May 2019.
Dr. Atwine pledged to ensure that health facilities are improved to meet the required standards to benefit all the relevant stakeholders and most especially the surrounding communities.
The health units will provide health services to the expected influx of people who will be working; both directly and indirectly on the pipeline. Additionally, they will provide improved services to the surrounding communities during and after the construction phase of the pipeline.
“The Petroleum Authority of Uganda is coordinating the enhancement of linkages between the Oil and Gas sector and other key sectors of the economy to facilitate broad based, inclusive economic growth and development economic growth and development.
Some of the key sectors identified included Agriculture, Construction and Manufacturing, Transport, Tourism, Landuse Planning and Health, among others”, Dr. Joseph Kobusheshe, Director Environment, Health, Safety and Security Management at PAU said.
Most of the health facilities will be enhanced with standby ambulances, emergency units, fridges for blood storage as well as re-modeling and refurbishment of some facilities. Additional equipment will also be provided especially in the operating theatres as well as recruitment of supplementary staff.
Dr. Elly Muhumuza, the Chairperson LCV Sembabule district; said without doubt, he was sure the health facilities will be upgraded to international standards, which will be a direct benefit to the local communities.
Uganda’s Oil and Gas sector is transitioning from exploration and appraisal phase to the development phase in preparation for sustainable production of the petroleum resources that have been discovered in the country. The EACOP is being developed to transport the produced crude oil from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga port in Tanzania.
The influx of people in these areas will create opportunities for increased income generation within the economy. The PAU continues to facilitate exploration of the possible sectoral linkages with the oil and gas sector to ensure the economy is delinked from the volatile exhaustible oil revenues.
This will ensure the sustainability of the economy and the different infrastructure projects being set up in the country and the Albertine Graben.
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