The Government of Uganda recently signed an agreement with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA)to construct a UGX223 billion state-of-the-art heart institute in Kampala.
It is reported that the new institute will be established on a 10-acre piece of land in Naguru, a Kampala suburb, and will provide cardiovascular care to more than 60,000 patients per year.
While the development is laudable, its proposed location has annoyed some, including senior government officials.
The crux of the matter is that Kampala is generally extremely congested, let alone the fact that the city is already served with numerous other social infrastructures, not to mention the National Referral Hospital in Mulago and several other state institutions.
As many people have argued, Uganda needs to undertake deliberate steps to decentralize national development projects so that other regions of the country can grow.
Such decentralized projects would help to create jobs during construction periods, as well as spur business activities around the facility.
Beyond the benefits of attracting private enterprises to take advantage of such multi-billion shilling projects, the health facility would enable the growth of health tourism by enabling the private sector to establish hotel facilities that can accommodate caregivers.
In addition to that, locating a development of that magnitude away from Kampala, would ensure that health workers particularly doctors dedicate their time and full attention to patients, and are therefore saved the temptation of moonlighting in private clinics, which has proved to be a key challenge to the delivery of health services in Uganda.