Patient Numbers Grow as Mulago Fees Attract Debate

Written by: 
Crystal Bwiza

The number of women seeking for services at the newly refurbished Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital has been increasing over the days since the opening ten days ago.

According to Enoch Kusasira, the public relations officer Mulago Referral Hospital, there has been a steady increase in the number of patients received at the facility. “The facility has since 17thSeptember 2018 registered a ten to twenty percent increase each day in the number of patients seeking for services,” said Kusasira.

Kusasira says more people are visiting the facility to get services since they are free of charge till October 9 as part of the celebrations to mark Uganda’s 56th Independence Anniversary.  

The new Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital opened on September 17th and it received 72 patients seeking antenatal services and intro Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or assisted reproductive technology.

But this is the whole story. Some sections of the population have raised complaints about the proposed costs of accessing health services at the new hospital. The opposition Democratic Party (DP) has asked Parliament to intervene and force government to reconsider its position.

On September 19, the Ministry of Health released a statement indicating details of how much is to be paid by patients at the 450 capacity specialised women and neonatal hospital.

Some of the charges in clued 70,000 Shillings for neonatal follow-up /immunization per visit and 80,000 Shillings for accommodation and meals per day. 

A patient will part with 4.5 million Shillings for fistula repair, 50,000 shillings as consultation fee per visit, Shillings 800,000 for normal delivery and two million Shillings for caesarean section. For abdominal surgery, patients will pay 2.5 million Shillings while getting a nurse or doctor will cost 100,000 Shillings.

Other costs include hysteroscopy or uterus test 1.5 million Shillings among others.

Through its secretary general, Gerald Siranda, DP said the new facility, refurbished at the cost of 96 billion Shillings, was supposed to be a relief for majority of Ugandans cannot afford medical treatment abroad.

Siranda’s views were echoed by Kenneth Kakande, the DP spokesperson who argued that Mulago is a public facility established to serve the vulnerable in society, some of whom earn less than 450,000 Shillings monthly.