After more than 3 years of construction, the modern Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal hospital has officially been handed over to government by Arab contractors Osman Ahmed Osman.
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda received the keys to the 450-bed capacity hospital on behalf of government. The hospital will start receiving patients next week on Monday September 17.
Construction works for the 9-storey hospital was funded using a $25m loan from the Islamic Development Bank. The specialised equipment installed in the hospital cost at least $8m according to Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng. 180 health workers have also been trained in specialised maternal and neonatal services.
Dr Rugunda led a team of cabinet ministers including Frank Tumwebaze, Sarah Opendi, Musa Ecweru, Jane Aceng and Matia Kasaija on a guided tour of the facility. Rugunda appreciated the work done by the contractors, saying the facility is a state-of-the-art and a model on the continent.
"I'm happy that this is now going to be a referral hospital, it's not going to be a hospital for everyone to rush to because we have a enough facilities and more facilities are being created for mothers for mothers. However complicated cases, cases that require specialised treatment." he said.
The hospital is designed to accommodate 450 patients with one attendant each. The hospital is all piped to enable medical gases, nitrous oxide and oxygen to be pumped directly to patients on their beds without using an oxygen cylinder. There is also a laboratory where urinal tests and cancer screenings can be conducted.
"We have what we call uro-gynaecological services that is addressing the issue of urinary area, the reproductive trunk and so on. Then we have the gynaecology-oncology - those are cancers that affect the reproductive area of a woman. Then we have reproductive health and fetal maternal medicine which includes the in vitro fertilization and many others," Aceng said.
IVF involves extraction of female eggs and a sperm sample, and then manually combining them in a laboratory before implantation in a woman’s womb. There are 11 operating rooms, intensive care units (40 beds), recovery sections (25 beds), children’s nursery section (50 beds), oncology department (80 beds) and high-risk delivery sections (170 beds).
The hospital will have different pricing for the different categories depending on the preference of patients; Silver will be for general patients, Gold – Very Important Persons and Platinum - Very Very Important Persons.
According to Aceng, patients will be required to follow the referral procedure and make some payment towards their treatment.
"So whereas government will be contributing a huge amount of money to this facility as is government obligation, we shall also require patients to pay but at a subsidised cost. Right now we have a committee that is discussing the pay policy. Cabinet set in place a cabinet sub-committee to review what the committee in Mulago is discussing. The committee started its work, we’re also benchmarking with other facilities to make sure that we don’t charge enormous amounts." Aceng added.
Paul Kabanga, a laboratory technologist, says the hospital is equipped with equipment has the ability to deliver results within minutes compared to traditional equipment that can take longer. Initially laboratory technicians used strips to carryout urinal test something they say was time costing.
According to Dr Baterana Byarugaba, the executive director of Mulago national referral hospital, the hospital is also equipped with a laundry facility, saying patients will only be allowed to use gowns provided by the hospital. He said the hospital has enough gowns, one per patient each day or if need be, can also be changed during the course of day.