Mulago needs Shs25 billion to operationalize organ transplant unit

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The Organ Transplant Unit at Mulago National Referral Hospital is complete and has the required equipment but requires Shs25 billion to put it to full operation, the Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Dr. Charles Ayume, has told Parliament.

Dr. Ayume told the House sitting on Tuesday 14 November 2023 that even with the good equipment in place, the unit remains dysfunctional due to scarcity of utilities such as water, air conditioning and the drainage system.

“There are two theaters and three Intensive Care Units [ICU] constructed for the organ transplant unit, but the problem is water, air conditioning and they have issues with sewerage system. Water comes in the night and by 10.00am the next morning is no more. The building has six lifts but only one is working,” he said.

Ayume was responding to concerns raised by Speaker, Anita Among, on the labor crisis in the organ transplant unit at Mulago.

Among said that during her recent visit to Mulago, she observed that the ICU of the organ transplant unit is well equipped with 29 modern beds but with only 14 staff. She commended the quality facilities at the unit and said that their only problem is lack of manpower.

“The staff cannot do much, they cannot handle all clients. For dialysis, the unit is supposed to handle 70 patients per day but they have only 10 staff. Let us look for the ways of increasing budget for staff,” she said.

She added that the unit lacks separate rooms to house the organ donors and recipients for the time required for treatment and healing.

This matter raised a number of complaints from MPs on the state of health care country wide, with members proposing that a debate on the state of healthcare requires a dedicated sitting.

“The issues of the health sector need a proper dissect. The issues of human resources if audited well can reveal surprising results. You will find a number of people receiving salaries when they are not staff,’ said Hon. Dan Atwijukire (NRM, Kazo County).

He asked that the bill on the national insurance scheme be tabled, saying it is the solution to the needs of the health sector.

Hon. Sarah Opendi (NRM, Tororo district) observed that even in places with sufficient human resource, the work space is limited and discouraging.

“If you reach Mbale Regional Referral Hospital you will find five babies on one bed with their mothers standing. Soroti referral hospital where we have specialists that separated conjoined twins has never received money for expansion,” she said.

Hon. Alex Byarugaba (NRM, Isingiro South) drew the attention of the House to the awful congestion at Uganda Cancer Institute, where he claimed to have seen patients receiving chemotherapy in corridors.

The Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, said there were plans to construct regional cancer centers in Gulu, Mbale, Mbarara and Arua to decongest the national institute and mitigate the rising cases of cancer.

The center in Gulu is complete, while construction of one in Mbale is ongoing, he said.

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