By George Ntambaazi
The Vision of Mulago hospital is to be the leading healthcare delivery in Africa whereas building for the future is the motto for Makerere University.
As Uganda’s largest referral hospital, Mulago is mandated to provide specialised health services, conduct training and research in line with the requirements of the Ministry of Health.
Inspite of numerous strides, several problems have bedeviled Mulago hospital in providing quality medical services. For instance, its official bed capacity is 1,790 although it houses over 4,000 patients. There have also been cases of lack of drugs to handle complex cases so as to reduce the number of patients being referred abroad for treatment.
Coupled with the above is the issue of brain drain, where medical practitioners leave the country in search of better conditions of work. There is also lack of operational space, which is the subject of my attention today.
Under the national objectives and directive principles of state policy, the state pledges to take all practical measures to ensure the provision of basic medical services to all. This implies that facilities and services related to healthcare must be available in sufficient quantity.
In line with the above, institutions such as Makerere University have come up with plans to compliment the Government efforts. Makerere is set to develop its idle lands including its five acre land in Katanga through public-private partnerships.
According to the Sunday Vision of July, 27, 2014 Katanga land is to be developed into a transport hub to handle busses and commuter taxis. Instead, Makerere proposes to construct a teaching hospital in Katalemwa, 10 kilometers along the Kampala-Gayaza High-way.
I advise Government through the Ministry of Health, Makerere University and Mulago hospital to use the land in Katanga instead of Katalemwa for expansion of Mulago Hospital.
Makerere University can then use land in Katalemwa for construction of middle-income apartments.
It is undisputed fact that President Museveni is Mulago Hospital’s most reliable partner.
In that spirit, I am appealing to President Museveni to re- consider that the 15-acre prime Kitante land that formerly belonged to CMI but later given to Sudhir Rupareria to construct a five-star hotel be returned to Mulago for expansion.
The land was sold in exchange of a multi-billion facility built by Sudhir at Mbuya for Ministry of Defence. This, your Excellency will be a fundamental decision that will forever be appreciated by all Ugandans and will also be in line with WHO guidelines for comprehensive health facilities.
Instead of constructing a five-star hotel, the land can be used for expansion of the medical school, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Infectious Disease Institute, Uganda Cancer Institute or Uganda Heart Institute.
More importantly, the hospital needs space for high-tech equipment for specialised and complex services such as heart and kidney transplantation, brain and dental surgeries, imaging equipment, computerized Tomography (CT) scan, X-rays, sickle cell testing equipment, ultra sound, among others
Although health systems have undergone generations of reform, Mulago, founded in 1913, was only expanded in 1962 by constructing lower Mulago.
The NRM Government, being aware and recognizing the importance of health in transforming the quality of life of Ugandans refurbished New Mulago in the 1990s.
I have no doubt that a well-funded, effective, functional and spacious Mulago is capable of doing better.
Should we expand Mulago, we shall then be able to provide both preventive and curative care, train more medical personnel, make Ugandans healthier and subsequently make peace with British born medical missionary, Sir Albert Cook, founder of Mulago Hospital.
The writer is a concerned Ugandan
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