August 24, 2013

Naguru Hospital Limps A Year After Opening

Naguru Hospital Director Dr. Edward Naddumba has asked Parliament to help in identifying the true owners of the hospital.

Appearing before the health committee chaired by Kaberamaido MP Kenneth Omona, Dr Naddumba painted a dire condition under which the hospital is operating yet they keep getting inadequate funds from government.

Dr Naddumba, Naguru hospital director
Dr Naddumba, Naguru hospital director

The 100-bed Naguru hospital was set up under the Uganda-Chinese Friendship Agreement with an aim of decongesting Mulago National Referral hospital.

The hospital was handed over to the Ministry of Health on January 6, 2012 with some equipment and more is still expected. A few staff was also deployed and it currently has 16 permanent staff, yet it needs 230 staff for a referral hospital.

The Hospital Director says in June 2012 the hospital was given a budget of one billion shillings for its wage bill, 500 million for non-wage bill and 300 million for capital development, which he says was inadequate.

Because of the small budget, some priorities were left aside and a few services run with only contract staff. Dr. Naddumba adds that initially the contract staff were supposed to serve for six months which elapsed before the health service commission could validate and recruit the required number of 230.

In February 2013 the one billion shillings ran out and staff spent three months without salaries until a supplementary of 800 million shillings was forwarded to them.

According to Dr Naddumba the staff contracts have been extended several times because the health service commission could not recruit officially. In 2013 the Wage Bill was increased to 2.359 billion shillings.

The Ministry of Public Service then gave authority to the Health Service Commission to validate staff on ground and fill in vacant positions, but Dr. Naddumba says they are still waiting till today.

He also reveals that the hospital was constructed without bulky stores for keeping medical supplies, accommodation for essential staff, burglar proofing for administration offices, diagnostic and theatres.

It has a generator which is not fully connected to all essential areas such as outpatient and inpatient wards. There is no incinerator yet it has loads of medical waste to dispose of.

The Health Committee chairperson MP Omona had wanted to know why Naguru hospital is still working with contract staff despite numerous meetings held between Ministry of Health, Kampala Capital City Authority, Health Service Commission and Ministry of Public Service on the matter.

Omona wondered how the hospital with a budget of 10 billion shillings is being controlled.

Professor Pius Okong, the chairperson of the Health Service Commission, clarified that the hospital’s infrastructure was supposed to accommodate 350 beds. He said he expected the Ministry of Finance to plan on how to operationalize 100 beds with a wage bill of one billion shillings.

However, he has been handicapped since instead of health workers Public Service cleared 59 staff to be recruited and none of whom is nurse, laboratory attendant and midwife. Instead they recruited drivers, kitchen and stores assistants.

Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka revealed that in the 2013/2014 Financial Year the hospital’s Wage Bill has been increased to 3.42 billion shillings. However, they need to see the money accountability on output based format and focus on the biggest patient need.

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