It’s been over a year since the emergence of covid-19 in Uganda which tested the fortitude of many of the country’s structures, the health sector the most.

Around the steep slopes and hills of Kabale district, news of the virus outbreak broke at Kabale regional referral hospital.

According to ministry of health, Kabale Regional Referral Hospital is a 280 bed hospital located in Kabale Municipality in Southwestern Uganda, approximately 426 Kilometers from Kampala.

The hospital serves a population of about 2 million people in the districts of Kabale, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Kanungu and some parts of Ntungamo as well as people from neighboring countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But for two weeks, the very important and strategic referral hospital was closed off to other patients due to the news of the covid-19 outbreak at the facility.

Patients with other diseases were forced to look for alternatives in the town for survival.

A few kilometres away from the referral hospital sits Kamukira health centre IV, a once incomplete deserted building blossomed into a storied building canopied by red iron sheets.

It was in Kamukira health centre IV that the stranded patients found solace. Kamukira health center IV serves a catchment population of 8,778 but receives about 4000 patients both in and outpatients on a monthly basis.

The hospital according to the facility in charge had to step up and take up majority of the patients suffering from other diseases which it handled successfully thanks to its structure and facilities.

Inpatient admissions

The story would have been different back in 2016 when Kamukira did not have the ability to admit patients, with the exception of the maternity ward.

Most in-patients used to be referred to other facilities.

“Patients used to fear since the facility did not have the capacity to admit,” Paddy Mwesigye, the facility in-charge narrated.

A new dawn

However, in 2019, MTN through the MTN Foundation funded the completion of outstanding building works, electricity installations, plumbing installations and finishing.

According to Mwesigye, the completion of the main in-patient structure by MTN Uganda Foundation has solved issues of low turn-up and enabled them treat and admit patients during the lockdown.

Because of the presence of an inpatient structure, there is now an increase in inpatient admissions which has led to reduced decongestion of Kabale regional referral hospital.


MTN also went on to acquire a generator, beddings including: 20 mattresses, 20 metallic beds, 20 mosquito nets and 20 Blankets which have enabled the health centre carry out operations in the theatre.

“The wards did not have a water system in place. MTN Uganda Foundation put flashing water in all those toilets and wash facilities,” he further explains.

The community in Kabale district lauds MTN and is “very appreciative and beyond grateful” as they are enjoying a neat and conducive environment at the hospital.