MPs Decry Deplorable State of Naguru Hospital, Urge Swift Action

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Kampala, Uganda — The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has called for an urgent resolution regarding the status of the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital-Naguru, commonly known as Naguru General Hospital.

Lawmakers stressed that the ongoing ambiguity is severely affecting the hospital’s service delivery, leaving medical staff underutilized and valuable resources wasted.

Gorreth Namugga, Vice Chairperson of PAC, highlighted the mismatch between the hospital’s budget and its staffing levels.

“Naguru receives a budget akin to a general hospital but operates with the staffing of a referral hospital. This discrepancy means that the staff are underutilized, and resources are squandered. Doctors cannot remain in a place where they can’t fully utilize their skills,” Namugga emphasized.

MP Xavier Kyooma of Ibanda County pointed out policy deficiencies and urged the Ministry of Health to address the situation. He questioned whether appropriate requests for necessary equipment and resources had been made.

In response, Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo, Executive Director of Naguru Hospital, refuted claims of staff redundancy, asserting, “My staff are overworked. We need more personnel and better equipment. Despite securing Shs5Bn for arrears, our wage bill stands at Shs10Bn, and our operational expenses budget is less than Shs2Bn.”

Dr. Tugaineyo underscored the necessity of a legal instrument to formally define the hospital’s status, which would address the critical issues of funding, staffing, and equipment shortages.

He revealed that despite being designated as a national referral trauma centre, the hospital has been operating without a CT scan for three years, forcing patients to seek this essential diagnostic service elsewhere.

Namugga expressed deep concern over the lack of a CT scan, noting the inconvenience and additional costs for patients.

“For three years, Naguru Hospital has lacked a CT scan, forcing patients to go elsewhere. This is both inconvenient and costly. Is there a plan to include a CT scan in the current or next year’s budget?” she asked.

Dr. Tugaineyo explained that the absence of a CT scan has resulted in a significant revenue shortfall. “The CT scan is a major revenue generator. Its absence has led to a Shillings 127 million revenue shortfall. The current machine is obsolete and beyond repair,” he stated.

The meeting also revealed that Naguru Hospital, with a 100-bed capacity, manages 800-900 deliveries per month. Despite having departments equivalent to a referral hospital, the facility’s capacity is inadequate. The hospital has 22 neonatal beds, but only eight are operational due to budget constraints.

Ken Kalungi, an engineer at Naguru Hospital, described the maintenance challenges faced by the facility. “We have 22 neonatal beds, but only eight are fully functional. We lack a dedicated medical equipment maintenance budget and rely on a small recurrent budget of Shillings 7-10 million per quarter. Ideally, referral hospitals have separate budgets for medical equipment maintenance,” Kalungi detailed.

Dr. Tugaineyo called for government intervention to clarify the hospital’s status and enhance its operational capacity. He noted that the central medical equipment workshop in Wabigalo, under the Ministry of Health, has a limited budget for Naguru Hospital, with only Shs28M allocated for the next year.

PAC members emphasized the urgency of addressing these issues to ensure that Naguru Hospital can function effectively as a national referral trauma centre and fulfil its role in decongesting Mulago National Referral Hospital while serving the Kampala Metropolitan Area.

Built between 2009 and 2012 by the Chinese government as a gift to Uganda, Naguru General Hospital was constructed at an estimated cost of US$8 million (UGX 20 billion). The hospital was intended to alleviate the burden on Mulago National Referral Hospital and cater to the approximately 3 million residents of Wakiso, Mukono, and Entebbe in the Kampala Metropolitan Area.

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