Residents of today in Gakenke District can now breathe a sigh of relief after the Government said it has completed the construction of the long awaited Gatonde Hospital.
The Government had pledged to construct the hospital back in 1999 but put the plan on hold until the President renewed the commitment seven years later during his visit to the district.
The President had been disappointed by the slow pace at which district authorities were implementing the project.
“I want this issue to get addressed as soon as possible,” the President told officials during his visit in Gakenke on March 24, 2016.
After the president’s visit, the ministries of health, local government, defence and finance were tasked to fast-track the project.
Construction activities of the hospital kicked off in March 2017 with a target to complete the works within one year but later on stalled for almost a year due to what officials called ‘shortage of funds’.
In the mid-January this year the works were resumed with an aim to be completed by July and this has been successfully achieved.
“Construction of the hospital has already been completed, we are in the process of bringing in equipment and recruiting,” said Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, the Northern Province Governor. Gatabazi assured that the hospital will be operational in three months.
Some Gakenke residents who spoke The New Times welcomed the hospital stressing that it will particularly relieve them from trekking long distances to get healthcare services.
“We would previously walk about 8 kilometers with a patient on our shoulders to seek medical treatment from other health facilities. Some patients would die during the journey,” noted Jean de Dieu Nsanzubuhoro, a father of four from Magenta Sector. “We’ll make sure we optimise and preserve this facility.”
In a recent interview with The New Times, the Minister of Health Dr. Diane Gashumba, revealed that Gatonde Hospital will be a medicalised centre as it will be providing specialised medical services.
“It will be offering some specialty services like caesarean section, dental services etc.,” she said.
The hospital will largely serve thousands of residents from six sectors of Gakenke District, namely Busengo, Janja, Muzo, Mugunga, Rusasa and Cyabingo.
Besides Gatonde Hospital, Gakenke District also has Nemba and Ruli Hospitals, 23 health centres and 43 health posts which are in every cell of the district.