In 2019, the Health Ministry upgraded Ogwete Health Centre from Health Center II to HCIII status. The district then contracted Otada Construction Company Ltd to construct a maternity ward, placenta pit and latrine stances at the facility at Shillings 500 million.
However, the contractor has since abandoned the site, after roofing and plastering the structure.
Peter Okweda, the area LC III Chairperson explained that they have reported the matter to the District authorities and action is being taken.
According to him, the Health Center III is incomplete especially the maternity ward.
“We have been receiving a lot of money from the government for the construction of the Health Centre III,” Okweda said.
They had also informed the district leaders to change the contractor, a thing they had agreed upon and that the problem remains with constructing the maternity ward, Okweda said.
He therefore requested that the district finishes the construction of the maternity ward and the entire health facility as a whole.
Dr. Robert Oremo, the Otuke District Health Officer, also confirmed the incident, saying the district is in the process of contracting another company to continue from where Otada stopped.
“The process for the construction of the maternity ward is still ongoing, however the district is looking for another contractor under the contractors guidelines since Otada who were the former contractors abandoned the contract,”Oremo asserted.
Oremo continued that the district was in preparation of advertising to find another contractor to complete the ward, putting in mind the legal advice from the solicitor general in Gulu.
However, Oswald Owankunzire, the Engineer of Otada Construction Company, said that there had been some financial constraints and that they were forced to abandon work due to nonpayment.
“Though we can’t blame the district, we tried to give them guarantee when they still had money but there were always no payment,” said Owankunzire.
“No contractor could keep on working knowing that the client is out of money and couldn’t afford to pay for their service,” Owankunzire added.
On the other hand, the development hasn’t gone well with some community members, who suggested that the contractor should be blacklisted.
Peter Okello, a resident of Ogwete Sub County, expressed his disappointment over the matter, saying women are still struggling to walk long distances to access maternal services.
“Since it was upgraded in 2019, we have never seen or heard of any good facilities especially in the maternity ward, the ward has been under construction but we have not seen any positive results.
“Women give birth in un safe environment and can’t be given special attention since there is no shelter to harbor them,” Okello said. He asked the government to render the much needed help to the people of Ogwete sub-county.
Brenda Akao, also a resident and a client of Ogwete Health Center III, said that they have been experiencing challenges especially in accessing immunization services at the facility due to lack of facilities for the mothers.
The Health Center III serves the entire community of Ogwete sub-county and some people from the neighboring districts of Napak, Amuria and Abim. It attends to over 20 mothers seeking maternal services monthly.