Institute seeks Shs170b for specialised heart hospital
The government yesterday declined to respond to a request by the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) for Shs169b to build a specialist hospital to treat the growing number of heart diseases in the country
KAMPALA. The government yesterday declined to respond to a request by the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) for Shs169b to build a specialist hospital to treat the growing number of heart diseases in the country.
Dr John Omangino, the institute’s executive director, appealed for the money last week, saying they planned to construct and equip a 200-bed hospital and expand local capacity to conduct heart surgery procedures.
Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng, the line political supervisor, had earlier promised government support without saying how much it would put in the kitty.
“We are desperately looking for money. If government or any other donor can give us money --- even if it is half of the Shs169b, we would be able to start with at least two floors,” Dr Omangino told this newspaper
UHI, which became an independent legal entity at the start of October, currently is a 52-bed facility, a dozen being in the intensive care unit.
Asked yesterday if the government would avail funds as requested by the institute, Dr Asuman Lukwago, the outgoing Health ministry permanent secretary said: “I cannot comment at the moment”. He did not explain further. The government presently provides Shs4.4b of the Shs17b required each year to run the institute.
The architectural designs for the proposed hospital, to be named the Uganda Institute of Cardiothoracic Diseases, have been drawn and approved, Dr Omangino said, and the construction is planned to take 18 months if money become available.
He disclosed details of the infrastructure development scheme during a Thursday breakfast meeting in Kampala as a climax event for this year’s World Heart Day, under the theme, “Celebrating the Uganda Heart Institute Milestones”.
Ugandans with financial means fly overseas, mostly to India, to treat heart complications while 478 out of a possible 1,000 such patients who are lucky receive surgery at UHI, according to official statistics.
A recent survey done by UHI indicates that one in every four adults has a heart problem. Similarly, one in every four babies, the survey showed, is born with a heart abnormality half of which require specialised surgery.
“Various factors are responsible for the increase in these cases and these range from increased population, poor lifestyle and diet as well as associated diseases,” Dr Omangino said.