Kampala: Gov’t pledges to boost healthcare in EACOP corridor

As part of wider reforms tailored to improving health service delivery in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) corridor, the government is planning a raft of major reforms in the health centres in the districts surrounding the oil region.

According to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Dr Diana Atwine, this will be part of the government’s efforts to revamp the districts health sector and improve efficiency to meet the required standards to benefit all the relevant stakeholders who are going to work in EACOP.

She revealed that 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,” said Ms Atwine.

Ms Atwine was 22 February leading a team from the Ministry of Health, Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) and other key stakeholders in an assessment of the health facilities along the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) corridor.

She revealed that 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.

She added that the health units will provide health services to the expected influx of people who will be working; both directly and indirectly on the pipeline.

The team visited the health facilities in Gomba, Ssembabule, Lwengo, Rakai and Kyotera districts while the health facilities in Nwoya, Buliisa, Kikuube, Hoima, Kakumiro and Mubende districts were previously assessed in May 2019.

Dr. Joseph Kobusheshe, the Director Environment, Health, Safety and Security Management at PAU said a lot of attention has been given to the development and application of environmental and health management systems as an integral parts of the oil and gas business frameworks.

“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,” said Dr Kabusheshe.

He revealed that some of the key sectors identified included Agriculture, Construction and Manufacturing, Transport, Tourism, Land-use Planning and Health, among others.

Moh and PAU assessing Health Facilities along the EACOP route (PHOTO/David Mafabi).

Dr. Elly Muhumuza, the Chairperson LCV Sembabule district; expressed happiness that 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 the 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 which is being developed to transport the produced crude oil will originate from the future Industrial Park in Kabaale in Hoima District, will snake its way through different communities for a distance of 296km as it approaches Tanga port in Tanzania.

According to the ministry of energy and mineral development at the Industrial Park, the crude oil will be fed into the pipeline through Pumping Station One (PS1), having arrived there via various feeder pipelines from the Well Pads (Oil Wells) dispersed in the Albertine Graben. 34 of the 52 Well Pads found in Murchison Falls National Park.

Reports from Oil and Gas indicate that the influx of people in these areas will create opportunities for increased income generation within the economy and PAU will 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.

Dr Muhumuza said will ensure the sustainability of the economy and the different infrastructure projects being set up in the country and the Albertine Graben.

About EACOP

The total length of the Pipeline is 1,445 Kilometers through 148 Villages in 24 sub-counties in nine districts of Hoima, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Kyotera, Rakai, Kikuube), and 25 sub-counties. In Tanzania, it will cover a distance of 1,147km, through the 8 regions (Kagera, Geita, Shinyanga, Tabora, Singida, Dodoma, Manyara, Tanga) and 24 districts.

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