Mulago seeks Shs10 billion for ICUs

Mulago National Referral Hospital is in need of over Shs10 billion to fully functionalise its intensive care units (ICU).
This request was tabled by the hospital’s Ag. Executive Director, Dr. Rosemary Byanyima while appearing before the Committee on Health on Thursday, 21 March 2024.

According to Dr. Byanyima, Shs 122billion allocated to Mulago is inadequate and leaves budget deficits totaling to Shs 200 billion.  Among these is the money required to fully functionalise Intensive Care Units(ICU).
“In the pediatric ICU, we have 15 beds but we are only operationalising five, in the adult ICU there are 27 beds but 14 are functional because that is what we can afford,” said Byanyima.

She argued that understaffing and inadequate funding for ICU consumables were the reasons the units do not operate at full capacity.
“There are staffing gaps especially the nursing staff. We admit patients to ICU which is well equipped but there are no consumables; medicines will run out because of the shortages in the budgets,” said Byanyima.

Provision of extra Shs10.8 billion, Byanyima said will cater for the required consumables and maintenance of ICU equipment to increase the functionality.

She said the hospital needs Shs28billion to fill all vacant positions and appealed for Shs15 billion for the completion of construction works at the lower Mulago which she added, has been left out in the 2024/2025 budgetary estimates.

Members of Parliament reiterated their earlier recommendation for the Ministry of Health to utilise part of Shs3 billion provided in the 2023 supplementary budget to complete lower Mulago.
“Our priority was that instead of money going to Lubowa Specialised Hospital and the court fees, the ministry prioritise completion of the construction works,” said Hon. George Bhoka Didi (NRM, Obongi County).

Kabale Municipality MP, Hon. Nicholas Kamara expressed concern that the hospital has severally been in bad light but has not budgeted for activities to improve its image, especially in customer care.
MPs questioned the relevance of the Shs5 billion that Mulago is seeking to purchase vehicles for 60 senior consultants.
“You are advocating for vehicles to motivate consultants but we are told they spend most of their time in private clinics,” said Dr. Michael Lulume (DP, Buikwe County South).

Hon. Elisa Rutahigwa (NRM, Rukungiri Municipality) questioned why gratuity and pension were among the underfunded priorities saying they are core to the functioning of a hospital.
“When I find issues like gratuity and pension among unfunded and underfunded areas, I get concerned. Imagine if any of us retires and you are told there is no gratuity, how would you feel?” asked Rutahigwa.