The Health Ministry, led by Permanent Secretary Diana Atwine, is contemplating drilling boreholes as a sustainable solution to mitigate the escalating water bills incurred by hospitals, particularly those in upcountry areas. This proposal emerged during discussions at the Parliamentary Health Committee, addressing the mounting unpaid water bill arrears owed to the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).
Dr. Atwine emphasized the significance of boreholes in providing water to health facilities, especially in rural areas where water challenges are prevalent. She highlighted the necessity of having clean water for hospital operations, particularly for sanitation purposes, rather than solely for drinking.
The proposal comes amid revelations by NWSC’s deputy managing director, Mr. Johnson Amayo, regarding the substantial outstanding water bills owed by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), amounting to Shs14.99 billion as of January 2024. Notably, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Jinja Regional Referral Hospital, Mulago Specialized Women’s Hospital, and Naguru Hospital are among the top hospitals with hefty unpaid bills.
While NWSC acknowledges the feasibility of constructing boreholes, Mr. Amayo cautioned against potential health risks associated with their implementation. He warned against the possibility of water contamination and subsequent health hazards, particularly in urban areas like Kampala, where sewerage infrastructure is extensive.
Mr. Amayo emphasized the critical role of hospitals as health-providing institutions, urging caution in adopting boreholes without adequate measures to ensure water quality. He stressed the importance of prioritizing water quality over cost-saving measures, highlighting the potential health implications of compromising water safety standards.