Four months since the launch of the Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital, patients’ challenge in paying for services there are causing debate about the benefit of the 91 billion shillings facility to the population.
The Ministry of Health has revealed that talks are underway to revise the prices for services at the hospital.
The health ministry senior spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona confirmed there are talks to revisit the prices earlier agreed on. He says the process will have to first be discussed at cabinet level before new charges can be decided upon.
Ainebyoona adds that in the meantime, there is an alternative for those who can not afford the rates.
However, there is reportedly a waiver system in the hospital for patients who need urgent medical attention but do not have the funds.
Dr Jolly Nankunda, the deputy Director Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital, adds that since the official opening of the facility some members of the public have benefitted upon the discretion of the waiver committee.
She says that 15 people benefited in November, 24 in December and 28 in January. She declines to explain the criteria they use to determine who merits a waiver for fear of it being misused by members of the public.
At the launch of the facility last year, Cabinet approved price lists for the different services at the facility where consultation went for 50,000/-, Antenatal 890,000/-, pap smear at 150,000/- , Normal delivery at 800,000/- caesarian section at 2 million shillings, DNA at 500,000/-, IVF at 13 million shillings.
Many protested that had been passed without proper consultations.
Dr Evelyn Nabunya, the director of the facility, says the number of patients flocking for treatment after it was opened in October were high while it offered free services. At the peak of this season, they treated 2000 patients in October.
Between November and January 2019, the hospital has received 600 patients for antenatal services and 140 deliveries.
Dr Nabunya adds that of the 1500 out patient cases recorded, almost 46.2% of these were in need of fertility services. In January , the hospital had 132 gynecology patients.
Unfortunately, the facility is yet to acquire the specialized equipment needed to offer fertility related services. The health ministry spokesperson Ainebyoona says that a supplementary budget was submitted to be able to procure needed equipment.