On 12th September 2013, the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Scott DeLisi visited Arua Regional Referral Hospital (RRH), a facility supported by USAID’s Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project. This trip was part of a larger visit to Arua district to learn more about U.S. Government engagement in the area.
Accompanying the Ambassador was his wife, Leija; a delegation from the USAID/Uganda Mission, including the Head of Health, HIV/AIDS and Education; Arua District Political and Health Officials; and the Hospital Director and Hospital leadership team.
Guided by the Hospital Director, Dr. Bernard Odu, DeLisi visited the hospital laboratory that is being refurbished by the SUSTAIN project, the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) site, and the HIV clinic.
In his discussions with the hospital leadership team and district officials, Ambassador DeLisi showed concern for health and development challenges affecting the region. He was interested to hear about the staffing levels and availability of medical equipment, medicines and supplies, as well as HIV test kits. Dr. Odu acknowledged that the hospital had achieved a 54 percent staffing level through significant support from partners. The hospital had recruited five new laboratory staff with support from the USAID SUSTAIN project.
Ambassador DeLisi applauded the partnership between SUSTAIN and the hospital and their effort to improve staffing which, in his view, is the main challenge affecting health service delivery in the country. Based on the findings from other regions he had visited within Uganda, availability of HIV test kits at Arua RRH was remarkable, especially at the time when the majority of health care facilities in the country were experiencing stock-outs. The USAID SUSTAIN project supports laboratory services strengthening and VMMC activities at Arua RRH.
U.S. Ambassador, Scott DeLisi, District Political and Health officials and the USAID/Uganda Mission Health team were led by Arua Hospital Director, Dr. Bernard Odu as they toured around the new laboratory under renovation by SUSTAIN project. Photo credit: Julian Natukunda, URC SUSTAIN Project; September 2013
The project is refurbishing the hospital laboratory through renovation, expansion, and provision of automated laboratory equipment. At the time of the Ambassador’s visit, renovation work was nearing completion and is expected to be finished in October 2013. Other areas supported by the project include skills development for laboratory teams through training and mentoring; delivery of VMMC services; and upgrading of the West Nile Region Medical Equipment Maintenance Workshop that is in its initial stages.
By SUSTAIN team with contributions from Julian Natukunda, Communications Specialist, Augustin Muhwezi, Deputy Chief of Party and Olivera Stojanovic, Program Officer.