Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), with funding from CDC/ PEPFAR, is strengthening the capacity of Wabigalo Central Workshop to maintain laboratory equipment with the aim of promoting quality and efficient health service delivery in the Central region.  

Over six years ago, the Ministry of Health (MoH) set up eight Regional Medical Equipment Maintenance Workshops (RWs)  - in Arua, Hoima, Lira, Gulu, Soroti, Mbaale, Fort Portal, and Kabaale Regional Referral Hospitals – and one Central Referral Workshop at Wabigalo, Kampala to ensure health facilities are equipped with well-maintained medical equipment. The establishment of the RWs stemmed from the continual break down and long equipment down time at the health facilities – which were a result of irregular maintenance and other issues.

Wabigalo Central Workshop serves 20 hospitals and 48 health centre IVs in 25 districts in the Central region and is headed by the Assistant Commissioner for Health Services. In addition to overseeing seven Regional RWs, the Central Workshop at Wabigalo also serves as a National Referral Workshop. 

Due to funding challenges and more automated laboratory equipment in the country, there was a need to establish a more sustainable system of maintaining this equipment and reducing down time. 

In turn, the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) provided support worth $120,000 with the aim of building capacity of Wabigalo Central Workshop to manage and maintain laboratory equipment. IDI procured a mobile workshop vehicle, workshop tool kits, and ICT equipment to improve communication (desktop computers, laptops, printers, modems); recruited two biomedical engineering technicians; developed an equipment electronic data base; facilitated laboratory equipment inventory data collection and baseline assessment within the Central region; and improved the technical skills of engineers through manufacturer specific trainings.

On 26 September, 2014 at Wabigalo Central Workshop, the Executive Director of IDI, Dr. Alex Coutinho, officially handed over a mobile workshop vehicle worth $48,000 and basic workshop tool kits worth over $23,000 to the MoH at a function presided over by the Assistant Commissioner for Health Services (Health Infrastructure), MoH Head of Central Public Health Laboratories, other MoH officials, and IDI officials.

Gordon Mpamize
James Mulindwa