PRESS STATEMENT FROM
VOICES FOR HEALTH RIGHTS (VHR)
URGENT CALL TO ADDRESS WATER CRISIS IN MULAGO NATIONAL REFERRAL HOSPITAL
It is now about two weeks when the media reported about the disconnection of water from Mulago National Referral Hospital by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) due to unpaid accumulated bills.
A fact finding mission conducted by VHR revealed that, water was disconnected in some departments of Old Mulago including; Uganda Cancer Institute, MWANA MUJIMU ward, Infectious Diseases Institute and Makerere College of Health Sciences, among others.
By Monday 24th March 2014, it was estimated that over 70% of the children admitted at Mwana Mujimu had contracted diarrhea due to poor hygiene as reported by the administrator. An interview with staff also revealed that the lack of water was also affecting preparation of meals for the children in the ward.
Our interaction with the Public Relations Officer of Mulago Hospital revealed that management had had discussions with Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and NWSC to quickly offset the debt but with minimum success. Negotiations are still on-going to address the issue.
Persistent lack of water is resulting into operational challenges. Pre-paid and zero-balance utility schemes for any hospital facility in Uganda, be it in urban or rural setting translate to deaths in theatres and for premature babies in incubators, diarrhea, dysentery and cholera for the medical stuff, patients and their nurses, in labour wards kidney patients suffer tremendously and patients contract tetanus and other sanitation related diseases because few medical centers have latrines.
- Immediate reconnection of water to Mulago National Referral Hospital
- The national referral hospital to develop an emergency utility supply plan
- Government taking full responsibility of utilities of Government health facilities
- A recentralization policy for government to take full responsibility to subsidize utility bills of public health facilities
- Legislation for utility providers to disconnection preferential procedures for both public and private medical facilities
Robinah Kaitiritimba – Executive Director, Uganda National Health Users’/Consumers’ Organisation
Naration by UNHCO Programme Officer who went on a fact-finding mission to Mulago Hospital