Ugandans shouldn’t expect the best services from Mulago Hospital when Government continues to allocate meager resources to the national referral hospital, Baterana Byarugaba (pictured), the Mulago Hospital Executive Director has said.
Baterana made the remarks while appearing before Parliament’s Budget Committee today after MPs raised concerns over perennial departure of Ugandans abroad for treatment in disregard of Mulago services.
In response, Baterana blamed the trend on meager funds, citing the 2021/2022 budget where the National Referral Hospital has only been allocated Shs59bn, leaving the hospital with shortage of Shs129bn.
He said the hospital has Shs92.3bn shortage for specialized medicine, Shs10bn for medical equipment, Shs21bn for refurbishment of upper Mulago, Shs1.6bn for cleaning and sanitation, Shs1bn for electricity among others.
“We need Shs5bn to maintain machinery and equipment like MRI and CT Scans, they can’t be switched off electricity and Air Conditioner. You can’t give me beans to cook and expect me to serve you meat,” Baterana said.
He added: “Some time back people complained that Mulago smells, but when we ask for Shs2bn for cleaning they say it is too much money yet taking away the nuclear waste is very expensive.”
Amos Lugoloobi, Chairperson Budget Committee who survived life threatening COVID-19 said that although he received the best treatment in Mulago before he was referral to Nairobi, he was shocked when he was driven to Nsambya for MRI sc.
“If it wasn’t for the care I received in Mulago, I wouldn’t be speaking now. You created a very good service there, I don’t know about the rest of the services there. When I had to be taken to Nsambya for a CT Scan in an ambulance, I found it very inconveniencing because I was very sick and I thought of other patients especially for a center of excellence. I should have expected a CT Scan and MRI in that hospital,” he said.
However, State Minister for Primary Health Care, Joyce Kaducu denied reports that Mulago hospital has two functional scans, saying the facility has one MRI scan and two CT Scans and they were functional at her latest visit last week.
At the regional level, only Mbarara Referral hospital has a functional CT Scan leaving others at similar level like Mbale, Soroti, Jinja, Arua, Lira, Moroto, Fort Portal, Kabale etc referring patients to Mulago in need of such services.
Michael Bukenya, Chairperson Health Committee rejected these claims arguing that the MRI scan at Mulago hospital isn’t functional because the facility housing the MRI scan is yet to be completed by contractor Roko Construction Company.
He also revealed that the Health Committee has recommended to Government to equip all regional referral hospitals with CT Scans starting with Mbale, Hoima and Gulu instead of procuring another CT Scan for Mulago.
Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health said they are seeking for a new contractor to complete works at Mulago abandoned by Roko Construction Company.
“Roko couldn’t complete the work because it failed to raise certificates, we have started the process of hiring another contractor to complete the work,” she said.