MPs Question High Charges at Mulago Hospital Despite Government Funding

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Members of Parliament on Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have questioned charges levied on patients at Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital, despite the fact that the facility receives funding from the government.

The query was made today, May 9, 2024, during a meeting between officials from Mulago National Referral Hospital and the Committee at the hospital premises.

Muwanga Kivumbi, the Chairperson PAC, directed the hospital administration to provide a breakdown of costs charged to patients and questioned why the charges were exorbitant even after government subsidiation.

“A facility that charges this much also continues to encroach on the public purse, and it is highly subsidised by the government. When you look at the trend of your NTR, it is about Shs 7 billion a year. Would that justify why we shouldn’t find the money as the government tops up for what they could have lost in the NTR? With all the ambiance you have and everything, the revenue is nowhere; it is very low. If we allocated you additional Shs7Bn and told you from today onwards to offer free services, will that be fine with this entity?” Kivumbi said.

According to Kivumbi, administrators at Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital charge Shs1 million for normal deliveries on the Gold card, Shs2.5 million for normal deliveries under Platinum, Shs1.3 million for C-sections under Silver, Shs2.5 million for C-sections performed on Gold card holders, Shs2.5 million for patients on the Gold card, and Shs4 million for patients undergoing VIP Platinum, which he says are exorbitant fees.

Kivumbi further stated that Uganda is currently servicing a USD 34.14 million (Shs129.220 billion) loan from the Islamic Development Bank for hospital renovation, to which taxpayers contribute, stating it is unfair that they must also pay high medical charges.

However, Dr. Evelyn Nabunya, the Executive Director at Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital, stated that the cabinet was the one that made the decision to charge Ugandans.

“The decision to be able to charge for services came from Cabinet, and a team of Cabinet members came here to verify why people should pay, and they guided the team on how to set these charges. They also advised that there should be a waiver committee to enable Ugandans who can’t afford the services to be able to access them,” Nabunya said.

According to the committee, Mulago Hospital only collects Shs7 billion in revenue annually, compared to the Shs31 billion annual budget the facility receives from the government.

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