KAMPALA – A report by the office of the Auditor-General John Muwanga has revealed that Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) is collecting blood and handing them to hospitals around the country without a license from the global body, a development that puts in question the quality of blood in the country.
The December 2019 report that was recently presented before Parliament and is awaiting scrutiny by Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the report highlighted, “UBTS operates without accreditation by the African Society for Blood Transfusion (AFSBT). This means that its (UBTS) operations are only limited to local standards.”
The audit team also revealed that collected blood is transported together with staff using the entity non-refrigerated vehicles as required per international standards.
The financial statement of UBTS indicated that Parliament appropriated a total of Shs19.18b to UBTS, however, the entity only received Shs19.17b resulting in a budget shortfall of Shs9,674,726 representing a funding level of 99.95% of the approved budget.
Further, out of the warranted amount of Shs19,172,423,897, Shs19,131,289,991 was spent by the entity resulting in unspent balance of Shs41,133,906 representing an absorption level of 99.79%.
The Auditors also unearthed what they termed as significant inconsistencies between the figures in the vote performance report and the statement of financial performance as of 30th June 2019.
Relatedly, the audit report also revealed that the Nitrogen Plant at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) broke down in 2017 and had not been repaired or replaced by the time of audit.
The report also revealed that although the Virus Institute had planned to collect revenue of Shs260M in 2018/19, only Shs107,120,835 was collected representing 41.2% of the target.
Auditors also revealed low absorption of funds at the institute indicating that of the Shs7,377Bn that was budgeted, only Shs6.720Bn was and released resulting in a budget shortfall of Shs656.785M. However, out of the Shs6.720Bn released, only Shs6.378Bn was spent by the entity resulting in unspent balance of Shs341.421M that was sent back to the consolidated Fund.
Additionally, the Uganda Virus Institute has an approved structure of 237 positions, but only 88 positions were filled and 149 positions remained vacant as at the time of the audit in November 2019.
Among the unfilled positions, are key positions of Assistant Director of Research in Zoology/Ecology, Public Relations Officer, Principal Economist and Bio-Medical Engineer.