Japan has donated calibration equipment worth Shs 1 billion to the ministry of Health to help in the maintenance of medical equipment in 14 regional referral hospitals countrywide.
A list provided by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) shows that each regional referral hospital will receive a set of maintenance tool kits with 16 sets to support simple self-maintenance of the equipment.
The donation comes at a time when the capacity of regional referral hospitals countrywide had been stretched by the Covid-19 pandemic, making the equipment in these facilities susceptible to wear and tear.
In response, the Japanese Embassy through JICA intervened by donating 138 different tools distributed to each of the 14 referral hospitals. The Japanese ambassador to Uganda, Hidemoto Fukazawa, who was present at the handover ceremony, lauded the ministry’s efforts in combating the Covid-19 pandemic and pledged continued support towards Uganda’s fight towards the pandemic.
Fukazawa also called the intervention timely since medical professionals and machines were working over their normal capacity to see off the coronavirus.
“Any equipment be it a car or a machine needs maintenance, and I want to have all your equipment in the hospitals to be maintained properly and to be used for many years,” Hidemoto said.
Recently, JICA has been on a drive to improve the health provision services in northern Uganda by helping in the refurbishment of the regional referral hospitals in Gulu, Lira and Arua. The agency, on four previous occasions collaborated with the ministry to fight Covid-19 through such interventions moving back to 2020, sentiments that were emphasized by Fakuse Yutaka, the chief representative of JICA in Uganda.
“This fifth support includes calibration equipment donated to 14 regional referral hospitals worth $474,023 to support health workers in ensuring patient safety,” Yutaka said.
Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng expressed appreciation for the existing relationship between her ministry and JICA.
“Ministry of Health and JICA have had a long-term relationship and we’ve been working together on various things including continuous quality improvement including equipment maintenance, construction and rehabilitation of many hospitals...In our workshops, these machines are very vital because if for example, an oxygen cylinder fails to work, it means life and death. So what JICA is doing is to ensure that human life is saved. So on behalf of the ministry and Uganda as a whole allow me to say, thank you.”