Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Diana Atwine, has proposed the construction of boreholes in hospitals to reduce unpaid water bills, which have risen to Shs14.9 billion as of January 2024.
While appearing before Parliament’s Health Committee, Atwine said that water challenges are real in health facilities.
“If you go to regional hospitals, health centre IIIs, and health centre IVs, service delivery is affected because they don’t have water, but to dig boreholes and have the water in our facilities I think is the way to go,” said Atwine.
Atwine’s proposal came after Johnson Amayo, Deputy Managing Director (Technical Services) at National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), revealed that as of January 31, 2024, Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Government have unpaid water bills to the tune of Shs81.4 billion.
On the borehole proposal, Amayo warned that such a move would expose the hospitals to high health risks like cholera outbreaks.
“Our biggest concern is that a hospital is a health-providing facility; boreholes are good in rural areas. If you want to dig boreholes in Kampala, which is 15% sewerage and most of the homes have septic tanks, the potential to poison a hospital and turn the hospital into a poison entity by providing water which has no good quality is higher than pursuing a budget which meets the demand,” said Amayo.
However, Atwine said that a big chunk of the water at health facilities is used for cleaning.
“So I think there is a way we can have that waiver to dig boreholes, to have water to keep our facilities clean,” she said.