The Parliamentary Committee on Health has directed an immediate audit of Mulago National Referral Hospital’s power consumption amidst concerns over inconsistent electricity supply at the country’s largest healthcare facility.
Committee chairperson Charles Ayume raised alarm over reports of inadequate power supply and frequent outages at Mulago, emphasizing the adverse effects on patient well-being and medical equipment operation.
The audit, scheduled to be completed by March 10, 2024, aims to evaluate Mulago’s electrical infrastructure, identify deficiencies, and propose necessary improvements.
Mulago Hospital plays a critical role in Uganda’s healthcare system, making it imperative to ensure reliable power supply for uninterrupted medical services.
Health ministry permanent secretary Dr. Diana Atwine stressed the need for collaboration between the health and energy ministries to address longstanding power challenges affecting hospital operations.
The audit was prompted by revelations of significant electricity bill arrears at Mulago Hospital, which have accumulated over time, exacerbating financial constraints faced by the energy ministry.
According to undersecretary Grace Tusiime, Mulago’s outstanding electricity bill arrears stood at shillings 4.5 billion as of January 31, 2024, highlighting a pressing need for financial accountability and planning within the hospital management.
The exorbitant power bill has raised concerns among lawmakers, with MP Margaret Ayebare questioning potential leakages and power thefts within the hospital premises.
Eng. Abdon Atwine, the commissioner for rural electrification, emphasized the importance of investigating potential illegalities and exploring alternative power sources to mitigate supply challenges in hospitals.
Dr. Atwine lamented the destruction of medical equipment worth millions due to unstable power supply, underscoring the urgency of addressing electricity-related issues in healthcare facilities.
Efforts to resolve these challenges include exploring alternative power sources and enhancing collaboration between relevant government agencies to ensure uninterrupted healthcare services.