The breakthrough comes after parliament approved a USD 50 million loan (approximately 192 billion) from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and the Saudi Fund for Development. Dr John Omagino, the executive director of the hospital says the loan is long overdue, and with the hospital built, it will save the country USD 75 million that is spent annually to refer Ugandans abroad for treatment
After years of lacking a permanent home, the Uganda Heart Institute is set to start construction of a new home in Naguru.
The breakthrough comes after parliament approved a USD 50 million loan (approximately 192 billion) from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and the Saudi Fund for Development.
The money is for the construction of a 250-bed capacity world-class hospital located at the former Naguru Estate. The loan will also facilitate the procurement and fitting of equipment needed at the hospital.
According to management at the institute, the construction of the hospital is expected to be completed in two years' time.
Dr John Omagino, the executive director of the hospital says the loan is long overdue. According to Dr Omagino, the hospital will save the country around USD 75 million that is spent annually to refer Ugandans abroad for treatment.
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According to Dr Omagino, upon completion, the new facility will be able to carry out 5,000 surgeries annually. This will be a big leap from the current 1,000 surgeries that are carried out.
The institute is part of Mulago National Referral Hospital and occupies space within the hospital complex. However, due to limited space and operating theatres, the facility cannot carry out more than 600 heart surgeries annually, leading to long waiting lists.
Often patients in need of surgery end up seeking care abroad due to the long waiting lists. For instance, the hospital last year failed to carry out surgeries on 100 children with different heart defects.
In an earlier interview, with Dr Micheal Oketcho, the head of Pediatric Surgery at UHI told URN that due to lack of beds and equipment, only 160 children out of the thousands in need of surgery can be treated.
"Annually around 300 to 400 children in need of surgical interventions to different heart diseases make it to UHI but we only handle 160 cases a year and we only have two ICU beds," he explained. "At the moment these beds are occupied by three children whose surgeries were carried out last week. Now we cannot operate on any other cases."
The UHI had previously estimated the total cost of construction and equipping the hospital to stand at 267 billion shillings. UHI says the shortfall of 75 billion will partly be met by the government and will mainly go towards buying equipment for the hospital.
Once completed the hospital will have four theatres, outpatient and in-patient wards, diagnostic areas and a 20-bed intensive care unit.