Uganda: Mukono Councillors Oppose Government Directive On Hospital Management

23 January 2020

Mukono Municipal councillors have unanimously rejected a government directive to hand over the newly-elevated hospital to Mukono District.

Government elevated Mukono Health Centre IV to a general hospital on July 1 last year. The municipality has been supervising its operations.

Although government advised that the hospital management be supervised by the district, municipal councillors insist since the facility is located in the municipality, it should be their mandate to supervise its operations.

On September, 5 2019, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine, wrote to the municipal council communicating the ministry's position, but the municipal leaders say they were never consulted.

In the letter, Dr Atwine said starting Financial Year 2019/2020, Mukono Health Centre IV would operate as a hospital.

Dr Atwine said the district had also received funds for staff recruitment and an additional Shs500m for health infrastructure development to improve health service delivery at the facility.

However, during a council sitting on Tuesday, all the 27 municipal councillors rejected the government position, insisting they will not accept the general hospital to be supervised by the district.

Although the facility, which is located in the centre of Mukono Town, has been under the management of the municipality, by law, general hospitals are under the management and supervision of districts.

Ms Bitamisi Muteleka, a councillor representing Ggulu Ward, said the municipality should be left to supervise the facility as has been the case over the years.

"The district can manage the hospital as government suggests, but let them allow the municipal authorities to continue supervising the facility," she said.

Ms Susan Ntimbe, the Mukono Municipal Council deputy speaker, said they have put in too much effort to see the facility elevated to a hospital and they "cannot allow the district to take it over at the final stage.

The councillors have since put a signpost at the hospital indicating that it is managed by municipality.

The Mukono Municipality mayor, Mr Fred George Kagimu, said they were yet to hold a meeting with officials from the Health ministry and the district to harmonise their positions.

"We have all rejected government's position on the newly-elevated general hospital and I believe through the planned meeting, they will listen to us," he said.

He said it is the municipality that pushed for the elevation of the facility to a general hospital and it would be unfair to deny them a chance to supervise it.

"As a municipality, we also have the capacity to run a general hospital. This is not a referral hospital to be managed by a district," Mr Kagimu said.

Mr Jamada Kajjoba, the Mukono deputy mayor, said as a municipality, they have the capacity to run the facility better than the district.

He added that the other facilities run by the district are in poor conditions and, therefore, the hospital is in better hands with the municipal authorities.

Dr Anthony Konde, the municipal medical officer, said the municipal council has in the past donated delivery beds, weighing scales, microscopes and other medical supplies to the hospital.

Background

Patients. The health facility attends to at least 200 outpatients every day from the districts of Mukono, Buvuma, Buikwe, Kayunga and parts of Wakiso. In 2016, it handled 6,322 deliveries and 1,500 caesarean sections.

Hospitals in Mukono. The elevation of Mukono Health Centre IV to a hospital brings the number of hospitals in Mukono District to two. Another one is a Catholic Church-run hospital, St Francis Naggalama in Nakifuma Country. When Buikwe District was carved out of Mukono District in 2000, the latter remained without a general hospital after Kawolo Hospital was taken by Buikwe District.

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