Half of Mulago ICU beds  operational, says Among

Speaker of Parliament Anita Among interacts with Dakabela MP Comas Elotu on his hospital bed at Mulago National Referral Hospital on November 13, 2023. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Ms Among was at the facility as she visited an MP who injured his skull a week ago.

Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has said less than half of the 29 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds at Mulago National Referral Hospital are being used because of limited staff.
“What is disappointing is [that] we have a very functional ICU but we don’t have human resources [to run the unit at its full capacity],” she said.

“We have an ICU of 29 beds but only 14 [beds] are operational. I am going to urge my colleagues, in this financial year we should be able to increase the money for health for all the ICUs to be operational,” she added.

Ms Among said this at the facility yesterday where she had gone to visit Dakabela County MP Cosmas Elotu who, according to information from Parliament, injured his skull a week ago.
She appreciated the hospital management for the quality of care and for keeping the facility clean and organised. 
“I have come here to visit one of the members of Parliament, Hon Elotu who [was involved in an accident] and he is in ICU. But his condition is stable, he is actually recovering,” she said. 
“I want to thank the management of Mulago [Hospital]. When I entered, I expected something different, but the place is neat, and well taken care of. We know how many patients they receive on a daily basis and we know the challenges we get. But as government, as Parliament, we will do our best to find ways to support you,” the Speaker added.
Dr Rosemary Byanyima, the acting executive director of the hospital, said she would provide the exact number of medical workers required to run the ICU beds. But she had not done so by press time.

Mulago MD speaks
“As Mulago National Referral Hospital, we continue to pledge to provide quality care to all our patients – big or small. The Hon Speaker has appreciated the quality of care, neatness at the facility and some of the challenges like understaffing which is stopping us from utilising fully our ICU,” she said.

This comes a day after this newspaper published a story that government hospitals have only four percent of the health specialists they require to optimise care for patients. It was based on a 2023 report by the Equal Opportunities Commission, which indicates that the hospitals have only 307 of the required 8,272 health specialists.  
Dr Byanyima also said besides the issue of understaffing, there is a challenge of infrastructure for housing their staff which is incomplete. 

“It needs to be completed and also we need an increase in budget for supplies which we require so that we can attend to our patients without asking them to chip in and buy one or two things. Some of the areas [units] have not yet been operationalized because of incomplete renovation works and we pray that that is given due attention,” she added.