Uganda: Covid-19 Leaves Arua Hospital in Shs796 Million Debt

The costs of managing and treating Covid-19 cases has left Arua Regional Referral hospital with arrears amounting to Shs796 million, Daily Monitor has learnt.

While confirming the deficit on Monday during a meeting with district leaders, the hospital director, Dr Filbert Nyeko, said: "We have residual arrears arising from these operations that amount to Shs796 million. In terms of advertising in newspapers and others [we spent] Shs19 million, allowances Shs136 million, sanitation Shs7 million, communication Shs8.9 million.

Dr Nyeko added that they spent Shs50 million on electricity, computer supplies and maintenance Shs4 million, fuel Shs41 million, guard and security services Shs16 million, maintenance and civil works Shs43 million and motor vehicle repairs of Shs 70 million."

"We made a response budget plan of Shs450 million at the start of the pandemic. Subsequently, every month we are expected to use Shs350 million up to date. Therefore, in April last year, we were given Shs270 million. From April up to August, there was no release. From December to date, we have not received additional funding."

He said the first Shs270 million was paid out as allowances to staff, Shs121 million was meant for patients' feeding, Shs43.5 million for fuel, Shs4.6 million for administrative costs.

The hospital has a capacity of managing 36 Covid-19 cases in the mental unit and the Health ministry donated two tents to the facility that are yet to be installed.

Apart from the debt, last week, the hospital received unconfirmed amount of risk allowance from the ministry but it has been slapped with 30 per cent tax on it.

Last week, Fr Charles Onen, the Pece Laroo County MP, said: "Most of the taskforce teams were receiving support from NGOs and why is the director for Arua not talking about the donations from the task force teams. Let the director be honest and don't fail Arua people."

"The nurses are risking their lives and a few people are pocketing their money. This must stop. We need a well explained report on the money received and the liabilities," he added.

Background

Covid funds

Last year, a report from Ministry of Finance indicated that Shs2.2 trillion budget was designated for the Covid-19 multi-sectoral response. At least Shs766 billion had been committed to the Covid-19 prevention and response interventions out of which the Ministry of Health had received and spent Shs264b from both government and donors.

According to 2021/2022 budget presented by Ministry of Finance, Arua Regional Referral Hospital has been allocated Shs 10.2 billion. This funding includes the total external financing to the hospital.

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