CRISIS: 450 Die At Mulago As Medics' Strike Enters Day 9


link geneva; font-size: small;”>This followed a huge strike by Medical Interns at the hospital thus overstretching nurses and a few doctors’ services.

information pills geneva; font-size: small;”>“In the past, we used to register five to ten deaths per day but since the Medical Interns’ strike, the number of patients dying daily has amazingly shot to a staggering 50,” a concerned doctor who preferred anonymity has revealed.

If no swift intervention is taken, Mulago is bound to register an astounding 18,250 deaths in a year due to lack of adequate labour.

For fear of public scrutiny, Mulago administration hurriedly closed the mortuary to the public and warned the hospital’s publicist Dan Kimosho against making statements about the matter.

Information obtained shows Kimosho is contemplating resigning as the situation gets out of hand.

Rumours are flying high most media houses have been compromised to keep silent about this matter of national interest.


Mulago Medical Interns last Thursday laid down their tools for non-payment of salaries.

Every six interns are required to take charge of a staggering 18 wards thus enormously complimenting the work of doctors of nurses. They ensure patients are in good shape and get required attention from doctors. The interns further monitor patients brought in critical condition and alert doctors on emergencies.

Without the interns, Mulago is in trouble, considering that their nine-day strike has so far caused the death of hundreds of patients – and the number is expected to skyrocket.

The interns said they have never received salaries since August and vowed never to return for work until their arrears are cleared.

According to one Annet, the interns are entitled to Shs350, 000 per month.

“We are hugely overworked but we never get paid. How do we work for three months without a penny?” Annet charged.

“We shall not go back to work until government has wired our money on our bank accounts. We cannot,” she said.

They are supposed to be guided by medical assistants and nurses. However, according to students, nurses deliberately absent themselves from work while medical assistants claim to be ‘busy with research’ thus rarely turning up.

“We do the donkey work. Someone needs to listen to our concerns,” another student Martin said.

The most affected wing of the strike is Renal Ward that caters for patients with kidney difficulties.


Meanwhile, as the crisis gets out of hand, Mulago Hospital Executive Director has issued a notice to members of staff, citing irregularities on the hospital payroll.

He said they include “non-payment of allowances for October to some staff members and non-payment of salaries to a number of staff due to unapplied EFTS (Electronic Fund Transfers) which arose from incompatibility of bank account numbers with the new payroll system.”

Much as Byarugaba assured staff the Ministry of Public service was “doing everything possible to fix these problems,” his explanation fell short of clarifying why interns have never received salaries since August.

Considering Byarugaba’s statement as arrogant and simplistic, enraged interns have now responded with fresh demands which must be met before they return to work.

One of them is they need a full payment of allowances which have been missing since August. Each gets Shs200, 000 as facilitation for meals, accommodation and fare. The second demand is an increment in their salaries from Shs350, 000 to Shs1m. The students we talked to said they won’t return to work until all these issues were sorted out.

Numbering 180, the students have left Mulago on the verge of total breakdown due to lack of labour.

The development is a big test of Uganda media’s ability to report issues of public interest and Byarugaba’s capacity to manage the referral hospital.

Byarugaba has of recent stepped up a serious public relations campaign for the hospital but facts on the ground present a different picture.

Apart from the increasing number of deaths, the state of the mortuary is worsening day by day (check pictures in the gallery of this story).

There are unconfirmed reports a businessman in Kampala has tendered management of the mortuary.

For every dead body, Mulago collects Shs250, 000 before it leaves the mortuary. This implies Mulago collects Shs638, 750,000 per year from 2,555 deaths annually.

Health experts say there is need for massive overhaul of Mulago hospital administration if any progress in performance is to take place.

The insensitivity of the administration regarding the plight of staff is threatening the future of the country’s largest referral hospital.

The hospital a few weeks ago could not even separate the Kabale Siamese twins thus seeking special services in Cairo, Egypt.

The interns’ strike, which has been largely ignored by government and media, is putting the lives of thousands at stake and threatening the reliability of the once-trusted hospital.

The strike has also stretched nurses’ ability to respond to serious emergencies to unbearable levels.

Our investigators say most patients remain un-attended to since nurses have developed a hugely negative attitude as work demands wear them out.

The x-ray department is over-flooded and ‘Good Samaritan’ security officials at the Referral hospital are running up and down with patients on stretchers.

The crisis further underlines the urgent need to address the poor pay of medical officers in the country. Uganda loses over Shs15bn per year as doctors leave the country for greener pastures abroad.

Police have been deployed near the mortuary. Our investigators, who today Thursday approached relatives of those who have passed away at the hospital, for interviews, have been chased by police. Police insist journalists must talk to the hospital’s publicist Kimosho whom the adminstration have instructed to keep his mouth shut on the crisis.

More details coming…


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