Patients and their caretakers at Uganda’s Mulago Hospital will be forced to go without water for days after the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) announced a one-week disconnection ultimatum over a US$236,000 water debt owed by the hospital.
The management of the Uganda hospital is now appealing to the government to intervene to avert a crisis.
Dr Byarugaba Baterana, a director at the Mulago hospital said the government should move fast before the hospital is turned into “a desert”
He said NWSC through a letter had communicated to him of the decision to disconnect the hospital’s water supply in a week’s time.
“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 said that the new hospitals of Kawembe and Kiruddu officially launched without a budget, but depend on the Shs269m allocated to Mulago for water every quarter.
Dr Baterana said the hospital’s utility budget for water is not well funded with an annual shortfall of about Shs2b.
He appealed to the government to consider increasing the budget for utility bills to save the hospital from running into a crisis.
“Every month, Mulago hospital 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, the hospital was disconnected by NWSC after it had accumulated a water bill ofShs6b. But Mr Kusasira said that they have managed to reduce it to the current Shs800m debt.
In the event that the disconnection is carried out, around 2,000 in-and-out patients will be affected.
Recently, Mr Silver Mugisha, the managing director of NWSC told journalists that Mulago was among many government institutions whose water supply was to be discontinued due to nonpayment of outstanding debts.