Government should prioritise establishment of health centre IVs instead of hospitals in districts as they can handle obstetrics gynecology and children’s cases, which make up most admissions in hospitals.
Presenting the Report of the Committee on the Ministerial Policy Statement and Budget Estimates for the Ministry of Health for the Financial Year 2022/2023, committee chairperson, Dr Charles Ayume said that many health centre IVs in the country are non-functional yet they are cheaper to construct and renovate.
“A health centre IV by all standards is a mini hospital. Why don’t we as a House agree that as a matter of strategic direction, instead of spending US$8 million on one hospital, we spend it on 12 health centre IVs,” said Ayume.
He also made a case for deployment of more doctors at health centre IVs to cater for the need of patients who access the facilities.
“The President will have to be guided on gravitating doctors to health centre IIIs because their services will most likely be put to waste. He has to do some surgery. We would rather have four doctors at a health centre IVs as opposed to only two,” Ayume added.
The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, who chaired the Wednesday, 20 April sitting, supported Ayume’s suggestion to operationalise health centre IVs in districts across the country.
“If we can have four doctors, a theatre and carry out operations at health centre IVs, we will be doing cost saving over having a hospital in every district,” said Among.
In the report, the committee observed that many health centre IVs have remained non-functional owing to limited funding and called for additional funding to aid their efficient service.
It cites that at the time of approving the National Budget Framework Paper in January, Parliament was informed that a total of Shs13.32 billion is required to functionalise 111 theatres at health centre IVs.
The money would ensure the facilities are equipped with blood transfusion services, but only Shs4.8 billion has been provided, leaving a funding gap of Shs8.52 billion.
“The committee reiterates its earlier recommendation that an additional Shs8.52 billion should be provided in a phased manner starting with Shs4 billion in Financial Year 2022/2023 to provide for blood storage equipment in health centre IVs that lack them,” reads the report.
The committee also recommended that the funding gap of Shs70.32 billion in the health ministry budget should be provided to the National Medical Stores to minimise stock-outs for essential medicines and health supplies, where health centre IVs will require Shs24.84 billion for the purpose.
Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng decried budget cuts to the ministry saying they will affect the performance of the sector in the given financial year.
“We know there are tough days ahead and cutting funding from National Medical Stores and other facilities is a bit painful. But we know that as we move along, Ministry of Finance will come in to support,” said Dr Aceng.
The ministry’s budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023 stands at Shs2.53 trillion.