UGANDA—The Committee on Government Assurances and Implementation has raised concerns with the management of Mubende Regional Referral Hospital over the imposition of a fee of Shs150,000 (US$39.20) for the use of a CT Scan machine by patients.

Led by Luwero District Woman Representative, Hon. Brenda Nabukenya, the committee diligently pursued government assurances and commitments within the health sector.

Of particular interest to the committee is the investigation into the utilization of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers (UGIFT) Loan Programme, amounting to Shs552.2 billion(US$144.31million).

This programme was sanctioned by Parliament to facilitate the upgrading of health center IIs to IIIs in sub-counties lacking such facilities.

During their recent inspection visit to Mubende District on Thursday, 04 March 2024, the committee discovered that five sub-counties—Kayebe, Kitenga, Kiruuma, Nabingoola, and the East and West Divisions of Mubende Municipality—lacked health center IIIs.

Furthermore, the committee observed that Mubende Regional Referral Hospital, despite being a government facility, was levying a fee for the use of the CT scanner, a government service.

Speaking before the committee, Hon. Acrobert Kiiza, an Independent MP from Bughendera County, pressed hospital officials to clarify the origins of the Shs150,000 charge, querying whether it was determined by established guidelines or by the hospital board.

Additionally, he sought transparency regarding allocating and utilizing the funds collected.

On her part, Hon. Clare Mugumya, Isingiro District Woman MP, expressed dismay at the exorbitant fee and stressed its inaccessibility to the majority of Mubende residents.

She urged the hospital administration to explore avenues for reducing the cost to make it more affordable.

Responding to these concerns, Dr. Paul Batibwe, the hospital director, justified the cost-sharing model as a means to maintain the functionality of the CT Scan machine. He assured the committee that the hospital provides waivers for patients unable to afford the fee.

In a troubling revelation, the committee learned that the maternity section of Mubende Hospital is overwhelmed, with mothers often resorting to giving birth on the floor due to a severe shortage of beds.

Sister Madelena Asedri, a midwife, lamented the dire situation, citing high demand from neighboring districts and insufficient bed capacity.

Dr. Godfrey Malemeko, a gynecologist at the hospital, highlighted the challenges arising from the absence of a health center IV and a district hospital, resulting in overcrowding and resource limitations.

The committee pledged to address these pressing issues to ensure equitable access to healthcare services for all citizens. 

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