Specialised Mulago hospital will require 1,000 doctors

By Pascal Kwesiga

Hospital executive director says  new facility will require sh9.5b for maintenance  every year  

Mulago 350x210


KAMPALA - When the new Mulago National Specialised Hospital is complete, about 1,000 doctors of various specialties will be required to run the sophisticated machines and offer services currently sought for by Ugandans abroad.

Some of the most specialised services the newly rehabilitated and equipped hospital is set to offer include organ and bone marrow transplants as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

These and other services would be offered at the facility located in Lower Mulago for the first time since it was established in the early 1900s.

Another building has been constructed near the old building (now rehabilitated) under the current reconstruction project funded by the Government and a loan from the African Development Bank.

The six-storey building has been repainted, reconfi gured and installed with ultra-modern medical equipment to handle complex operations, including surgeries and organ transplants.

"We shall need 3,075 health workers to run this specialised facility when it is complete. Of these, 1,000 should be doctors of various specialties.

Currently, the number we have varies because experts come and go.

It ranges between 500 and 600 (doctors)," the Mulago Hospital executive director, Dr Byarugaba Baterana, said.


There are 21 operating theaters on level one; two for organ transplants, two for accidents and emergencies and 17 centralised theatres.

Level two includes a mortuary with capacity to hold 185 bodies (each cold room holding 18 bodies) and other specialised services such as DNA, pathology, and cancer diagnosis.

There will be internet portals around each bed to facilitate telemedicine.

"This will enable us consult with doctors across the world while they see the patient because of Internet," Baterana added.

The mortuary facility also includes a chaplaincy unit and a unit for holding the property of the deceased. "People are free to get their priests here (Mulago) to pray for the deceased and take the body for burial thereafter.

This is a farewell home (mortuary) and it can hold bodies for as many years as possible," Baterana said.

There are also oxygen, vacuum and media air supply plants as well as the radiotherapy facility, including the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), C-scan and ultra-sound scan.

"We are now the super power of imaging. This is the first MRI in a public hospital,"

Baterana said during a guided tour for journalists around the facility yesterday. The level three has a kitchen and a bakery as well as other facilities.

There are laundry facilities on level four and the centralisation unit and facilities for using nuclear medicine in treatment of some diseases like cancer.

It also has outpatient clinics. "For the fi rst time, we can sterilise plastics. Previously, we used to discard them as long as we knew they were contaminated.

Sterilisation is now an automated process yet previously we used to do it manually," the project focal person, David Nuwamanya, said.

The outpatients, emergencies and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) and children will be handled on level fi ve. Level six has administrative facilities for the hospital.

Charges and rehabilitation costs

The hospital authorities said Cabinet will determine the charges for the services which will be offered by the hospital.

Currently, a kidney transplant costs about $20,000 in India.

This excludes charges for transport, accommodation, food, carer, patient monitoring and drugs.

The rehabilitation of Mulago started in 2014. The Government and ADB availed $35m (about sh130b) for the rehabilitation works.

But the hospital still owes the contractor, Roko Construction, $9.5m (about sh35b) for the construction of an intensive care unit and the mortuary.

"We had agreed only on refurbishing the hospital. It was thought $35m would be enough, but the intensive care unit and the mortuary collapsed under rehabilitation and the contractor had to build new structures," Nuwamanya said.

He added that the equipment which have so far been installed cost $23m. This excludes the refurbishment cost.

Baterana said the hospital would be commissioned in fi ve months' time if the Government provides an additional $9.5m that the hospital owes the contractor.

"Ninety percent of the work is complete," he added. Baterana said sh9.5b would be required each year to maintain the hospital and equipment.