Patients and their caretakers could go without water for days after the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) issued a one-week disconnection ultimatum over a Shs800m water debt owed by Mulago National Referral Hospital.
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Mulago Hospital management has now appealed to the government to intervene.
Dr Byarugaba Baterana, the hospital director, yesterday said the government should act fast before Mulago is turned into “a desert”
“I have received a letter from NWSC communicating that Mulago Hospital is to be disconnected in one week’s time,” Dr Baterana told Daily Monitor in an interview yesterday.
“We don’t have the money to pay the water bill. Even if our water budget for the next quota is advanced, we shall not meet our debt because of a small budget,” he added.
Dr Baterana explained that the new hospitals of Kiruddu and Kawempe officially opened without a budget, but depend on the Shs269m allocated to Mulago for water every quarter.
“Anything like a cut in water supply will have to affect Mulago and its entire campuses. But I believe that government has heard about this and will tell NWSC not to proceed with the disconnection,” Dr Baterana said.
Dr Baterana said Mulago’s utility budget for water is underfunded with an annual shortfall of about Shs2b. “Unless government increases our budget for utility bills, we shall continue paying arrears,” Dr Baterana observed.
“Every month, Mulago uses water worth Shs270m and when you sum it up it, Mulago needs about Shs3.2b annually,” Mr Enock Kusasira, the hospital publicist, said yesterday.
In 2014, Mulago hospital was disconnected by NWSC after it had accumulated a bill amounting to Shs6b. But Mr Kusasira said that they have managed to reduce it to the current Shs800m debt.
Once the disconnection is effected, about 2,000 in-and-out patients will be affected.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Silver Mugisha, the NWSC managing director told journalists that Mulago was among several government institutions whose water supply was to be disconnected due to nonpayment of outstanding debts.
Other affected institutions
Uganda Prisons Services and Ministry of Defence are some of the institutions whose water supply is to be disconnected. The water body is moving on its debtors after it received a green light from the ministry of Finance to cut off government departments, which have defaulted.
Ministry officials were quoted in the media saying the affected departments have no excuse since monies were released to them to clear their bills.
Source: daily monitor
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