The Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital, Dr Byarugaba Baterana has said that only patients who have gone through the proper referral process will receive free diagnosis and treatment at the newly opened super specialized Maternal and Neonatal Hospital at Mulago.
The state-of-the-art new Mulago Maternal and Neonatal Hospital was handed over to government on September 13 upon completion of its construction.
Valued at Shs 91.5 bn, the 450 bed capacity women’s facility will handle specialized services in women health and significantly reduce referrals abroad.
According to the Ministry of Health, the new hospital will offer services like; high risk antenatal care, delivery and post natal services, gynecology, Uro-gynaecology with focus on obstetric fistula, Invitro Fertilisation (️IVF), ️Laproscopic surgeries.
Days after its opening, the Ministry of Health released the fees that will be charged for the different medical conditions, raising concern within a section of the public. Some Ugandans wondered why Mulago Hospital which is a public facility would be charging in their view ‘expensive’ fees.
A similar concern was raised by a citizen on Friday at Kololo Independence Grounds during an event at which the health sector was giving accountability to the tax payers.
In response, Dr Baterana explained the rationale behind the fees charged, saying that the facility offers super specialized services which come at a cost. He added that in order for the hospital to procure essential medical supplies, patients will have to make a financial contribution.
He said that the medical fees at the facility are 40% cheaper than those charged by other facilities.
“We need sundries yet we operate on a limited budget. Ugandans must understand that we are going to be offering super specialized services so that they no longer have to go to India for medical treatment,” he said.
He however added that patients who are referred to the Mulago Maternal and Neonatal Hospital will not pay for diagnosis or treatment.
“If you come and you are properly referred, and you don’t have money, don’t worry. Uganda is for all of us. You are a Ugandan and you will be treated for free,” Dr Baterana said.
“We shall examine you and treat you free of charge”.
In explaining the concept of referral, Dr Baterana said that Mulago is designed to deal with complex medical problems while the minor illnesses can be addressed by lower health facilities like Health Centre – Twos, Threes, Fours, District Referral Hospitals and Regional Referral Hospitals.
“If you are pregnant, go to the district hospital. They will send you to a regional referral. If there they send you to Mulago, you will be treated for free”.
“What we don’t want are people with jiggers or diarrhoea to refer themselves to Mulago. The condition you have is not of a national referral nature,” he added.