Luwero. The Luwero district council has suspended the operations of the private wing at Luwero hospital over abuse and extortion of money from patients.
In the 2019/20 financial year, Luwero health center IV was upgraded to improve service delivery. The government also increased primary health care and development funds.
Last year, administrators introduced a private wing at Luwero hospital in a move aimed at improving access to service delivery.
However, on Friday at the district council sitting at Africa Guest House in Luwero town council, it was resolved to suspend the operations of the private wing with immediate effect saying it had contributed to extortion of money from patients.
Ronald Ndawula, the Luwero LC V chairperson says that he has received numerous complaints from residents that those without money can’t access services yet the facility is primarily a public hospital.
Ndawula said that the purpose of elevating the hospital was to enable poor patients to access better services at free costs but not for profits.
Samuel Mulwana, the male district councillor for workers said that currently, the hospital is still struggling with staff but it was unfortunate the majority opted to work in the private wing where they get bonuses leaving the key clients in public wings crying foul.
Mulwana said the opening of the private wing was rushed since the hospital is still under construction and has no clear demarcation between the private and public wings.
Dithan Kikabi, the district speaker also said the money from the private wing can’t be accounted for which raises suspicion that this is intended to benefit the health workers who collect it from patients.
About 10 councillors voted to suspend the operations of the private wing whereas seven councillors were against the move.
Kikabi ruled in favour of the majority saying the private wing be suspended till its operations are streamlined and policy to govern it approved by the councillors.
Herbert Ssekabira, a member of the Luwero hospital management committee says that the private wing was introduced in good faith but he admits it had been abused and created confusion at the facility.
Sekabira explained that some patients are suspicious that drugs sold at the private pharmacy could be dispensed by the government for public use and there was a need to first sensitize the public about how the private wing operates.
But Joseph Serugo, the district secretary for health criticized the motion saying the suspension won’t stop extortion at the hospital. Serugo tried to block the motion in vain saying the issues can be addressed without suspending the service.
Luwero hospital operates a primary health care budget worth 334 million shillings. The facility attracts over 250 patients per day and handles 300 deliveries per month.
The patients are drawn from Luwero, Nakaseke, Nakasongola districts and passengers plying the Kampala-Gulu highway.
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