Uganda Heart Institute Executive Director, Dr. John Omagino

The continued delay in approval of appropriate staffing structure at the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) is putting lives of 500 children and several other patients with heart related complications at risk, according to the Executive Director, Dr. John Omagino.

He made the revelation while presenting the Budget Framework Paper of UHI for the Financial Year 2023/2024 before the Committee on Health on 10 January 2023.

Omagino said that while renovation and equipping of the Intensive Care Unit for the treatment of patients with heart complications has been completed, there are no specialists.

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He asked the legislators to support the Institute’s request for Shs129 billion for recruitment of specialised doctors, saying that heart related complications require super specialised services.

“We cannot keep transporting our people abroad. If you get a heart attack, it must be sorted out in the next few hours. All of us need this facility,” Omagino said.

He urged the Public Service Ministry to expedite the approval of the new human resource structure for the Institute, since it was established by an Act of Parliament with a mandate of providing super specialised services.

“Public Service dismissed our request and yet the heart institute offers super specialised services. We need the specialists to run the hospital and they must be given titles that conform to international standards,” said Omagino.

He added that, ‘Public Service Ministry wants to call cardiologists, medical officers and special grade consultants after they trained for 10 years’.

Committee Chairperson, Dr. Charles Ayume said that the committee will engage the Ministry of Public Service to prioritise approval of the staffing structure.

The Shadow Minister of Health, Dr. Timothy Batuwa called on his counterparts to ensure that the Public Service Ministry recognises the importance of including super specialists in the government structures.

“We must find specialists in all health facilities. It is a very dangerous situation to have only beds without specialists. Human resource should be priority and MPs should start driving government to that angle,” he said.

Buyende District MP Mary Nakato said that human resource ought to be prioritised across the health sector as well as local governments.

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