Hundreds of patients are stranded at Masaka Referral Hospital after medical workers went on strike to protest the arrest of their bosses. On Wednesday, operatives from the police and State House Health Monitoring Unit arrested top Masaka Hospital administrators for alleged corruption.
On Wednesday, operatives from the police and State House Health Monitoring Unit arrested top Masaka Hospital administrators for alleged corruption.
Those arrested include the hospital director Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, Ereazer Mugisha, the Principal Hospital Administrator, Dismas Wandera, the hospital procurement officer, and Basil Kamara Woyesigire, the hospital Accountant. Also arrested is Milton Ondama, the Tirupati Development Uganda Limited project manager.
The officials were arrested after being implicated in the alleged embezzlement of funds meant for construction of a Maternity and Children's Ward. The officials allegedly embezzled five billion shillings meant for the construction of this project.
Collins Karugaba, the head of investigations at State House Health Monitoring Unit, says the suspects failed to account for 5.3 billion shillings.
Karugaba explains that after auditing, they realised that only 600 million shillings was left of the 5.3 billion shillings released for the project yet only about 32% of the work has been done.
Karugaba adds that preliminary investigations show that the money was embezzled through concocted accountability which include payment of internet, power bill and office space for the contractors.
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As result of their arrest, medical workers at the health facility have closed down most of the facilities in protest. This has plunged the hospital in chaos as patients are stranded without medical services.
Uganda Radio Network has found several, including the pharmacy, closed.
Jane Nayonjo, a high blood pressure patient and Teopista Nanfuka who is suffering from bone diseases, are some of the many stranded at Masaka hospital. They both say they were chased by medical workers when they sought drugs from the pharmacy.
Nanyonjo explains that she trekked 12 kilometres from Butayi along Masaka-Mutukula highway seeking medication but medical workers told her they have not worked today.
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Nanfuka says although they have chased her away, she will not leave until she gets medication. She says her swollen legs are too painful that she cannot go back home without medication.
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Sheikh Umar Sserunjogi had also brought his wife, Sarah Sserunjogi, for medical review. He says medical workers told him they did not work after the arrest of their bosses.
Sserunjogi notes that the failure to examine his wife means he has to take her to Kampala.
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Masaka hospital contracted M/S Tirupati Development Uganda Limited to undertake construction of the Maternity and Children's Ward at the cost of 5.3 billion shillings. Contractors were meant to hand over the project on May 1, 2017 this year. However, the work has stalled as contractors complain of lack of construction materials.
One of the contractors on sight who declined to identify himself says they now have no cement, lime and that some of the workers have abandoned work because of delayed release of funds.
All the suspects currently detained at Masaka central police station could not be reached for a comment.