Nurse Shortage Cripples New Mulago Hospital ICU


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Mulago National Referral Hospital Administration has stated that the facility faces a challenge of understaffing specifically for the intensive care unit (ICU).

According to Mulago’s Executive Director, Dr. Rosemary Byanyima, the hospital, expanded the ICU unit but did not recruit extra staff, which consequently affected the operation of the unit.

She made these remarks on January 8, 2024, while receiving submissions for the financial year 2024-2025 budget framework.

“We have really expanded the capacity. But, since the reopening, we have never recruited extra staff. That means we source for extra staff internally,” Byanyima said.

She stated that the hospital trained nurses internally to do ICU nursing, but the numbers are small due to the expansion of the ICU.

According to Byanyima, Mulago can not fully operationalize the ICUs without the right nurse to patient ratio.

“We created 16 more beds in addition to the eight that were existing, and we also created a 14-bed ICU for paediatrics,” Byanyima said.

She further stated that running the ICU was expensive, costing up to Ugx 2 million daily.

According to a 2022 report, the ratio of ICU nurses to patients stands at 1:8, which is said to have widened due to the expansion.

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