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Uganda Heart Institute Fails To Use Shs420m For Recruitment Of Specialist Doctors

The Uganda Heart institute failed to utilize an allocation of Shillings 420m for the recruitment of specialist doctors.

The matter came to light when the institute’s director Dr. John Omagino was interfacing with MPs on the Public Accounts committee of parliament on Monday.

Dr. Omagino was tasked by the committee chaired by Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi to explain why the institute had failed to fully utilize a budget release of 18.6bn for the 2018/2019 Financial Year leaving an unspent balance of 472m shs.

Dr. Omagino led a team of officials from the institute to respond to a number of queries raised in the auditor general’s report for the same year.

He told MPs that unspent salaries totaled to 420m due to unfulfilled positions arising from low attraction of super specialists like consultant pediatricians and cardiac surgeons.

The committee has asked Dr. Omagino to provide proof that the positions had been advertised in an attempt to fulfil the vacancies at the institute.

Dr. Omagino revealed that on top of the failed recruitment he has received a number of resignations from doctors as a result of poor pay at the institute.

The institute has also come under fire for diversion of funds from planned outputs to other underfunded activities. The amount of funds mischarged for the 2018/2019 financial year total to shillings 579m.

The bulk of this money amounting to Shillings 311m was diverted from short term consultancy services towards the purchase of super specialized supplies used during and after open heart surgery.  

Under cross examination from MPs on the committee on why money for consultancy was diverted Dr. Omangino revealed that the short term consultancy services were packaged as part of a project to cater for allowances of specialists working on open heart surgery patients. This mini project he further asserted also included funds for specialized supplies and maintenance funds for equipment. He said that this project budget was organized deliberately to ensure funds for supplies to take care of patients were not affected by budget cuts.

MPs on the committee also demanded an explanation for why Shillings 76m was diverted from staff allowances to pay board expenses, they quizzed Dr. Omagino on why board expenses were never budgeted for since the board was inaugurated in June 2017. The director stressed that the money was never allocated despite several pleas to finance but he noted that this was rectified in the 2019/2020 financial year.

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