300 Access Free Health Services at Mulago - PRO

Written by: 
Elizabeth Nakakoni

Close to 300 patients have already accessed free health services at The New Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital (MSWNH) since its opening 10 days ago.

Enock Kusasira, the Public Relations Officer of Mulago Hospital, says that the dire need for these specialised services coupled with the fact that services are free of charge in a new hospital justifies the huge turn up. "By 9th October, we will have received close to a thousand patients," Kusasira added in a conversation with our reporter today.

The new Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital (MSWNH) is offering free health services to referred patients from 17th September up to 9th October as an Independence gift to the people of Uganda.

In a statement released on September 19, Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng outlined the different services offered at the new hospital and how much patients will be paying after the Independence offer is over.

Days later, the Senior Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, Emmanuel Ainebyona, told students at Makerere University that services rendered will range from Reproductive Medicine, Laparoscopic and hysteroscopic surgery, Maternal fetal Medicine, Women with organ transplant or Recurrent pregnancy Loss and In-Vitro fertilization pregnancies among others.

The long list of services also has Urogynaecology which includes Uretic re- implantations, complex fistula surgeries and vaginal hysterectomies, reconstructive surgery following female genital mutilation and advanced reconstructive Gyn surgery. Others are Gynaecological-Oncology services including  Cerval, Vaginal, endometrial and ovarian and lastly Vulval cancer surgeries and advanced Neonatal medical and surgical services.

According to Ministry of Health, if a patient is for example referred by a Regional Referral Hospital, she shall then be seen by a specialized doctor at Mulago National Referral Hospital who will thereafter refer her to MSWNH. It is against this backdrop that all patients referred to MSWNH will be expected to have referral notes.

Irene Nakigudde, a mother of four and a low income earner, says she has some complications that she would like addressed. She says, "I wish these services remain free for us who cannot afford the high costs after October 9th".

According to the ministry statement, patients referred to MSWNH but can't afford will be paid for by government through a waiver system.

Ainebyona further explained that the reason why government has decided to charge for the services is that the hospital was constructed through a loan from the Islamic Development Bank worth 33 million US dollars.

He said there has been many referrals abroad for assistive reproduction technology to countries like South Africa, India and Canada which, he added, the facility will offer at a much cheaper cost.