“Council should support the introduction of a private wing at Kamuli General Hospital to improve on its funding."
A heated argument erupted in Kamuli district council on Wednesday after the health and education committee recommended that Kamuli General Hospital have a private wing.
While presenting the health and education committee report, the committee chairperson Saidi Muwanika implored the councilors to throw their weight behind formation of a private wing at the facility so that whoever is able can pay for medical services so that the hospital can generate additional funds.
"Council should support the introduction of a private wing at Kamuli General Hospital to improve on its funding," he recommended.
But e Nawanyago subcounty councilor Samuel Bamwole said that whereas it may sound so good an idea, the initiative can only operate in referral hospitals like Jinja, Mbale and Mulago and that, services in other government hospitals are supposed to free of cost.
Bringing Entebbe Grade-B Hospital into context, Thomas Kategere, the district chairperson LCV, downplayed Bamwole's submission, which had earlier attracted affirmative nods, by saying the (health) policy allows even health centre IVs to have private services.
"It is not true that Kamuli Hospital cannot have a private wing, the policy allows even health centre IVs to have private arrangement so that those who can afford can access medical services they can pay for."
However, according to the committee report the New Vision read, the recommendation is not based on any challenge it could address and therefore the recommendation was bound to attract questions.
During the commissioning of health equipment at Kamuli General Hospital in October, state minister for health Sarah Opendi warned health workers to desist from charging fees for any service at the health facility.
She said that health services in all government hospitals in Uganda are free of cost.
Opendi however advised that if patients are to be charged, a private wing would have to be put in place.
She was however quick to add that if a private wing be established, it should be fully autonomous so that in case of need, supplies at the general wing should not be tapped into by the autonomous wing.
The minister issued the warning in the presence of the speaker of parliament, the minister of state for Karamoja affairs, among other key dignitaries.