MBARARA – Mbarara Archdiocese has commissioned a surgical ward at Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital in Mbarara Municipality.
Constructed at a cost of Shs3.5b, the facility has a neonate unit for handling pre-mature cases. Other major services include pediatric surgery and radiology.
Speaking at the launch, Archbishop Paul Bakyenga said: “We want this hospital to get the best way of caring for the children even though other big hospitals in Uganda have children wards; we want children to get their best-specialized health services here in Uganda because they cannot easily tell their problems.”
He said the public should not be misled that the hospital is for Catholics only as it is said by some people. He said it serves all because diseases do not have religion.
“This hospital is not for Catholics only because diseases do not know religion and does not segregate who to attack. This hospital is for Ugandans and everybody is allowed to get services irrespective of their religious affiliations,’’ Archbishop Bakyenga said.
Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr Stephen Businge said they have received at least 230,000 patients in the last nine years, and they receive at least 2400 patients every month. The facility has a neonate unit for handling pre-mature cases. Other major services include pediatric surgery and radiology.
Dr Businge, however, said they have a challenge of paying workers because has stopped the support. Out of 84 staff government has been paying salaries of 14 for the last four years.
“We get referrals from Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and some are refugees. The cost of running this hospital is very high.
The government paid salaries of our workers for four years and we appreciate, but we have written to the permanent secretary ministry of health to find out why the support stopped,’’ Dr Businge said.
Minister for Karamoja Affairs Eng. John Byabagambi, who is a member of the hospital board, pledged to link them with the government so that it can extend help to ensure that children get the best health services.
Eng. Byabagambi added the government previously was paying salaries for workers but there was a change in the policy on supporting private hospitals which he said only affected affects profit-making private hospitals.
“I am going to check with the permanent secretary in the ministry of health to find out plans they have for this hospital because the President had promised that the ministry considers this hospital in helping them pay salaries of some staff since it is a non-governmental organization and non-profit making,’’ Mr Byabagambi said.