Construction works worth 13.1 billion Shillings are still pending at the Mulago Specialized National Referral Hospital over the failure of ROKO Construction Company to complete the project that was supposed to end in 2018.
Officials at the hospital told members of the Parliamentary Health Committee who were checking the facility’s readiness to offer tertiary care including organ transplants that some ICT installations, and electrical and plumbing work have not yet been completed. They are also not yet certain when these will be put up.
Dr Rosemary Byanyima, the Acting Executive Director of the Hospital explained that they need the radiology and nuclear medicine units to be working for them to be able to make proper diagnoses and follow up on recipients for the transplant services.
Byanyima said this after Health Committee Chairperson Dr Charles Ayume told them that the Organ Donation and Transplant Bill will soon be passed allowing for the service to start. He said the committee had submitted its report and is expected to be on the order paper next week on Tuesday.
However, according to doctors even if this bill is quickly passed and accented to by the President, the country will have to wait longer if construction works are not completed.
Dr Zeridah Muyinda who heads the Nuclear Medicine Department told MPs that it’s important that her unit starts working as soon as possible since they will need to do thorough viability assessments on kidney recipients which other technologies such as scans may not enable them to do if they are to minimize rejection and infections after the procedures.
Muyinda says when ROKO failed to complete the works, they tried using a local contractor to fix the Spect Gamma Camera Room which housed the equipment but the work they did doesn’t meet International standards and therefore couldn’t be approved for use.
According to the initial deal, ROKO was supposed to hand over the hospital with everything fitted including the equipment and appropriate flooring for the nuclear facility, radioactive machines and theatres.
However, recently, parliament approved a proposal by the government to offer financial support to the construction company to the tune of 202 billion shillings, the part of which is supposed to enable complete pending works.
Now, MPs want ROKO to prioritize health-related projects including the works at Mulago Hospital where over 200 people are on dialysis awaiting kidney transplants. Once they finally start conducting organ transplants, Dr Frank Asiimwe a Consultant Transplant Surgeon says they will have the capacity to do 12 procedures initially.