Kiruddu National Referral Hospital Director, Dr. Charles Kabugo has told MPs that the hospital management has instituted systems for re-allocations of medicines of low shelf life with sister institutions to avoid expiry.
Kabugo made the assurance while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (Central) on Tuesday, 12 July 2022, to respond to queries in the Auditor General’s report for the year ending 30 June 2021.
The report indicated that inspection of hospital drug stores revealed some drugs/chemicals had expired. This was attributed to low utilisation rates, receiving drugs with low shelf life or placing orders that do not match the usage patterns.
Kabugo however, said that the hospital liaises with other facilities including Kawempe Women’s hospital, Mulago and Entebbe that face drug stock-outs, and such medicines with low shelf life are transferred.
“We have a platform where we share information on availability of drugs and we transfer to the facilities that need them other than them sending patients to you because they do not have supplies. This minimises loss of resources,” he said.
He also reassured lawmakers that Kiruddu Hospital is a government facility that provides free services to patients who cannot afford the paid-for services in the private wing.
Kabugo said that apart from X-ray and CT-Scans which are charged at subsidised prices of Shs10,000 and Shs150,000 respectively, the rest of the services are free.
“The X-ray and CT-scan charges are under the mandatory non tax revenue collected by government and remitted to the Consolidated Fund to improve service delivery in hospitals,” said Kabugo.
He added that patients treated in general wards are attended to by the same doctors in the private wing at no cost.
“Kiruddu Hospital manages the poor people who can never be denied services. We even waived the fees for CT-scan during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are the only hospital that took up that risk,” he said.
Committee Vice-Chairperson, Hon. Asuman Basalirwa had raised concern over the continued allegations from members of the public that Kiruddu Hospital charge patients for services which are supposed to be free.
“There are complaints that you people in public health facilities are extorting money from patients and charging money for services that are supposed to be free,” he said.
Hon. Stella Atyang (NRM, Moroto District) wondered what measures the hospital management has instituted to ensure non-discrimination of patients.
“There is a likelihood that patients who seek free services are not attended to in favour of those who can afford. What is the hospital doing about that?” she asked.
Hoima West Division MP, Hon. Joseph Ruyonga accused the hospital of turning away referrals who seek free services.
“People are referred to Kiruddu and get shocked when they are asked to pay money for free services. Does the hospital board sanction such decisions,” Ruyonga wondered.