Uganda: Government Explains Delayed Opening of Mulago Hospital

28 January 2020

Kampala — The Ministry of Health has attributed the delayed opening of the newly refurbished Mulago hospital to delays in installation and testing of some equipment.

Speaking to journalists during the ministry's monthly breakfast meeting in Kampala yesterday, Dr Diana Atwine, the ministry permanent secretary, said some contractors needed more time to install the highly specialised equipment at the hospital.

Renovation works at the country's national referral hospital started in 2014 and were expected to end in 2016. However, this was not possible due to lack of funding. When government approved more funding, it set the second opening in December 2019, which also did not take place.

But Dr Atwine yesterday said the hospital will be re-opened at the end of March.

Mr George Otim, the acting commissioner for health services, said: "We have all the equipment at Mulago. It is on the ground and has been fitted."

Mr David Nuwamanya, the hospital principal administrator, said most of the contractors are all finishing up installation works to enable the facility open.

"There were different suppliers but overall we are finishing up," Mr Nuwamanya said.

Dr Atwine added that they are also prioritising training of engineers who will be able to maintain the equipment.

"We continue to mobilise for resources to establish fully functional regional workshops but also to have an equipment maintenance budget, which at the moment has not been possible but we hope that as we continue to advocate, this will be possible," she said.

Dr Atwine called upon all other government entities to work together to make sure that the equipment in health facilities is functional.

Cabinet in May last year approved $9.5m (about Shs35b) to complete the renovation of Mulago National Referral Hospital.

This brings the total cost of all renovations to about Shs82.3b when you add funds from the government and the UDB loan. Another $20m (about Shs73b) is for purchasing equipment.

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