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Kiruddu, Kawempe hospitals set for expansion

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Kiruddu and Kawempe national referral hospitals in Kampala are set for extension after Parliament recently approved shillings 15 billion for the two facilities to buy land.

Kiruddu and Kawempe national referral hospitals in Kampala are slated to be expanded after Parliament recently allocated shillings 15 billion for the two facilities to buy property.

This follows a report by the House Budget Committee on the National Budget Framework Paper for the financial year 2024/25 to 2028/29, which was approved with amendments on January 31, 2024.

The committee, which is chaired by Patrick Isiagi Opolot (Kachumbala County), noted that Kiruddu Hospital is a nine-storeyed facility which was built on one acre originally accommodating a Health Centre IV.

Kawempe was also previously a health Centre IV before it was upgraded to a referral hospital with funding from the African Development Bank and the Nigeria Trust Fund.

“Currently, there is no space for infrastructure expansion. The hospital (Kiruddu) identified neighbouring land measuring up to five acres at a cost of shillings five billion.

The committee recommended in financial year 2022/23 and in financial year 2023/24 that these funds be provided but were not provided,” Opolot said while presenting the report.

He said the committee reiterated its recommendation that shillings five billion be provided to Kiruddu for purchase of this land to enable expansion of services namely, wards for burns and plastic surgery, ophthalmology, general surgery, and dialysis ward expansion.

Kiruddu is the national referral centre for plastic surgery and management of burns. This section, according to the committee report, is currently only funded with shillings one billion but there is need for other shillings one billion to increase the budget for the supplies.

“The committee recommends that the funding gap of shillings one billion be provided to mitigate the shortfall because patients under these two specialities require a lot of specialised attention and treatment,” Opolot said.

The House also heard that Kiruddu, like other hospitals, is grappling with inadequate wages for recruitment of health workers.

“The hospital staff is at 32% which is very inadequate. The committee recommends that shillings 9.091 billion be provided to enable the hospital carry out the planned recruitment of critical health workers,” Opolot said.

On Kawempe hospital, the committee noted that it’s a 200-bed facility, sitting on only one acre: “This is too small for a national referral hospital and the high patient volumes have forced management to improvise and add more beds in the wards, resulting in congestion.”

It noted that this matter has been raised over the years by the Office of the Auditor General and Parliament and in the financial year 2023/24, it recommended shillings 10 billion for acquisition of land for expansion be availed.

“However, this was not actualised. The committee reiterates its previous recommendation that shillings 10 billion be provided for acquisition of land for expansion of the hospital,” it said.

Parliament also heard that Kawempe Hospital is grossly understaffed at 37.4% as opposed to the World Health Organisation’s required standard of at least 65%. It has 349 staff both medical and support staff vis-à-vis the approved structure of 934 staff.

“The hospital requires shillings 21.1 billion but only shillings 15.0 billion has been provided. The committee recommends that shillings 6.1 billion be provided for recruitment of additional staff,” Opolot said.

He also said the committee was informed that the hospital has a funding gap for laboratory reagents, especially for chemistry which are very essential.

“The committee observed that the hospital has many high-value medical equipment that require routine preventive maintenance and servicing. Due to the limited budget, the hospital is unable to undertake the maintenance resulting in a high frequency of equipment and machinery breakdown due to overuse given the high patient volumes. The funding requirement is shillings 1.7 billion but only shillings 0.856 billion (sh856m) has been provided,” he said.

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