St Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu district has announced that it is to increase charges of its services after donors announced budget cuts recently citing the gloomy global economy.
It means that thousands of patients in northern Uganda could be forced to cut deeper into their pockets to meet their medical bills and services.
According to the hospital’s administrators, the development comes as a result of unexpected ‘sharp’ budget cuts by its main donors who are experiencing difficulties during the current economic meltdown and austerity measures.
This development will see charges for some services at the Catholic run hospital increase by about 50 per cent while others could also increase by about 25 per cent to meet with the souring costs of medicine in the market.
Dr Cyprian Opira, the executive director of the hospital, said that the general charges that used to be Shs5,000 would increase to Shs10,000 while surgical operation costs that used to be at Shs25,000 would rise to Shs30,000 and those at Shs30,000 would cost Shs40,000 respectively.
The donors’ community that includes DANIDA and Dr Corti Foundation among others used to contribute about 75 per cent of the hospital’s costs while only 15 per cent and 10 per cent used to be raised locally in charges and government contributions respectively.
“Our major donors have equally been affected by the current economic pinch. Locally, the fluctuations in changing dollars to local currency have also impacted on us negatively,” Dr Opira said.
The hospital had not changed its functional fees for patients for the last 10 years even during the two decades brutal insurgency between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Joseph Ocen, 52, who has been frequenting the hospital to look after his sick twins, said that the changes in costs could be hazardous to him and many others as his children fall sick almost on monthly basis.
“I don’t know what would happen to many of us now that charges in this hospital are going to shoot up,” he said.
Dr Opira added: “We have a big budget deficit which has affected our normal running yet our mission is to serve the needy poor.” He said new fees in other areas could also crop up if the situation remains the same while status of outpatients remains unclear as they monitor costs of drugs in the world market. By A Web design Company
By A Web design Company