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Doctors opposed to Lubowa hospital project

Artistic impression of the specialised hospital

Artistic impression of the specialised hospital

Ugandan doctors have expressed dismay at government’s move to offer support to a private investor to construct a specialised hospital at the expense of neglecting local hospitals.

Dr Ekwaro Obuku the president of Uganda Medical Association (UMA) said the doctors are "disturbed" that government has signed a contract with a consortium comprising of Finasi and ROKO Construction Company to construct a new specialized hospital in Lubowa by guaranteeing a loan worth $380 million (about Shs 1.4 trillion).

According to Obuku, it’s even more disturbing because government, at the moment, has halted renovations of Mulago national referral hospital due to lack of funds.

“We note with deep concern that this is being done when the Mulago hospital rehabilitation has been suspended due to lack of funds equivalent to Shs 24bn,” Obuku said.

Dr Obuku explained that the immediate impact of stalling of rehabilitation works at Mulago hospital is that, the Uganda Heart Institute capacity to treat patients has been severely constrained and the public and the staff left frustrated. Mulago sought for temporary shelter at the Uganda Heart Institute to allow for completion of rehabilitation works.

Dr Gideon Rukundo Rugari a senior surgeon at Mulago hospital observed that the Lubowa project is astronomically expensive at $1 million (Shs 3.7bn) per bed compared with similar hospitals, which average at $300,000 (Shs 1bn) per bed.

“The current stalling in the rehabilitation of Mulago national referral hospital is a matter for concern. We urge the government to prioritise mobilising the necessary funding to finalise the rehabilitation of Mulago ahead of the Lubowa project.” Rukundo said.

The doctors also rejected government’s justification for construction of the specialised hospital that Uganda spent $73m (Shs 270bn) on treatment of its officials abroad in 2014, saying that the figure is most likely erroneous, but also a lot of parameters have since changed and the figures dropped to $2.8 million (Shs 7bn) in 2016.

Dr Obuku said that the Ugandan doctors have no doubt that if Mulago and other government facilities are supported and are used by all Ugandans, the need for patients to go abroad will be remarkably reduced and patients from neighbouring countries will come to Uganda for treatment.

“We recommend that government reduces the cost of the Lubowa project and allocates funds saved, to these institutions including the private sector (credit),” he said.

Dr Obuku also advised the government to stay on course with Mulago hospital master plan because the hospital is a regional centre of excellence. He said Mulago trains very many doctors from many different countries and has for that reason earned a reputation as one of the leading medical facilities in Africa.

UMA is set to petition the government against the construction of the hospital in Lubowa with the view that effort should be put on pending projects before the government undertakes new ones. Dr Olive Kobusingye said the trained specialists at Mulago have the capability and capacity to handle some of these procedures for conditions, which take Ugandans abroad.  


Obuku commended government for increasing the salary of doctors but said a lot more is needed to be done in terms of remuneration for specialists.

“We can’t earn Shs 4.5 million when our counterparts in academia are earning Shs 9 million monthly. We need to be treated fairly and paid per qualifications.” Obuku added.

According to Dr Obuku, Lira hospital, which is one of the main referral hospitals in Uganda, has suffered an of exodus of specialists into academia because it offers better opportunities in terms of pay. Rukundo said some specialists have already left the country in disgust and the future for this excellent institution is at stake.

“The same applies to the ambitious plans to start kidney transplant services for which staff have been trained but cannot start to put their training in practice due to the delays in completing the rehabilitation of Mulago national referral hospital,” he said.

He also explained that this equally applies to other specialties such as laparoscopic surgery, hepato-billary surgery for which specialists have been trained and are eagerly waiting to apply their hard earned skills.


+4 #1 WADADA roger 2019-03-19 13:25
I agree with the position of the Doctors , how can the government stop the renovations of Mulago national referral hospital claiming it does not have funds but quickly guarantee a foreigner to construct a hospital in Lubowa on a disputed piece of land.

I think this Government does not have a heart for the common man who needs mulago.
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+1 #2 Akot 2019-03-19 15:23
WADADA roger, agreed, but,

This government is not that of the people of Uganda! The sooner Ugandans throw Museveni out, the sooner they will have a say as to how their land, tax money is used!

There is no unversal healthcare for Ugandans, so who will the private hospital that will be payed for in secret by Uganda tax money, benefti?

Funny, Amin nationalised companies to ensure he was in control of Uganda & no outsider could dictate to him!...
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0 #3 Akot 2019-03-19 15:26
...When Amin was overthrown, as he didn't believe it could be possible, he left Uganda in a hurry & couldn't empty banks!

The NECC chaired by E. Rugumayo had no problem putting the country on feet; organised election, Ugandans got their salaries! Not even hospitals were deprived of medicine then!

Museveni is mortgating Uganda & when he will be no more, nothing will belong to Ugandans anymore!
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0 #4 rubangakene 2019-03-19 22:44
This hospital in Lubowa is 'dodgy'; the money should have been used to revamp the existing regional hospitals and building small dispensaries I every village.

In my view what Ugandans should also adopt "prevention is better than cure" approach to health care; promoting sports, building more sports facilities, encouraging Ugandans to lead active and sensible lifestyles, eating more fruits and greens. As I see now, the talk in town is marua and pork, waragi and sex.
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0 #5 Lakwena 2019-03-20 08:30
In other words, this concealed segregation. That is exactly what an anti people leaders do:They are on 24/7 selfish mode and mood.

That is what happens to a country and a people, whose president, alias Mr. M7 and cohorts only fight for themselves; including using taxpayers money to build build an exclusive hospital for themselves, family members and immediate relatives.

Intoxicated with their 33-year self-importance; they think it is their birthrights that Ugandans owe them a living including all the privileges in their wishful thinking.

In their convoluted obscurantism, they think Ugandans are super idiots, who will clap and celebrate the Lubowa nonsense.
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0 #6 Lakwena 2019-03-20 09:26
Sometimes I wonder whether Ugandans are capable of getting angry to say: enough is enough of the current segregation, discrimination and sectarian marginalization.

E.g., while some classified Ugandans go abroad for minor ailments, antenatal and postnatal care, using the Presidential Private Jet; their unclassified Ugandan counter folks, give birth on the roadside and/or cold concrete floor in the corridors of a piggy hospital called Regional Referral Hospital.
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0 #7 Silomethro 2019-03-20 09:28
There must be a ugandan invisible hand behind that Investor.
There is no way an investor can come in and ask for money to do business.

I am sure that project belongs to the big shorts here and are just using that Italian as a cover up
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+1 #8 Zaitun 2019-03-20 10:42
What have you not understood? Where there are flies, there you find vultures parading.

Simply say that Museveni family is part of this hospital ownership.
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