The Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital is operating at less than 50 per cent of its established staff structure, members of the Committee on Health have learnt.
The committee that was on an oversight visit to the hospital on Wednesday, 19 July 2023, pledged to engage the finance ministry to allocate funds for the hospital to recruit from the current 41 per cent to at least 80 per cent.
“We are only allowed to employ drivers and administrators who fall under U8 and contract staff. The much needed specialists like anesthetists and radiologists are employed by the Health Service Commission,” said the hospital’s Ag. Deputy Director, Dr Jolly Natukunda.
She informed the legislators that they are challenged by a limited budget, which impacts on their staffing levels, training, research and accommodation and by extension, the customer service.
Dr Natukunda prayed that they are permitted to retain some of the money collected as Non Tax Revenue (NTR) remitted to the Consolidated Fund to better their welfare.
In the last financial year, the hospital collected over Shs7 billion in NTR.
During the guided tour, hospital clients informed the committee members of the long waiting times before they are worked on. “It is past mid-day now and yet I came in at 7 a.m. but we have not yet seen a doctor,” a caregiver to a patient told the legislators.
“Despite the fact that people are paying for services, the waiting time is too long compared to other private health providers of the same services,” said Dr Charles Ayume, the committee chairperson.
These limitations have affected the image of the hospital leading to negative publicity and the low public awareness on the services provided.
The hospital, opened in July 2018, provides highly specialized reproductive and neonatal services that have reduced on referrals outside Uganda.