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Masaka Hospitals Battle over Government Funds

Disagreements have broken out between Kitovu hospital and Masaka Regional Referral hospital over government funds.
Kitovu hospital is managed by the Catholic Church but also receives some funding from central government to handle patients.
Masaka referral hospital receives 800 million shillings annually from government, while Kitovu receives only 180 million shillings.
The management of Kitovu hospital is accusing Masaka Referral hospital of referring several patients to Kitovu hospital than what the allocated resources can cater for.
Dr. Anthony Nabukalu, the Kitovu hospital medical superintendent says Kitovu should be declared the regional referral hospital because they handle most of the cases.
Dr. Nabukalu 60% of weekend emergency cases which include accidents and complicated deliveries are sent by Masaka regional referral hospital to Kitovu.
She argues that the high number of patients referred to them by Masaka Referral hospital is severely causing budget deficits at Kitovu.
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Fr. Emmanuel Katabaazi, the Masaka diocesan catholic medical officer says he has instructed Kitovu hospital to suspend provision of medical care to patients who can't pay because it has become burdensome.
Katabaazi, who is also the catholic medical inspector, says the decision to suspend all this was reached during the catholic health assembly at social centre in Masaka town.
According to Katabaazi, the catholic health assembly found out that Masaka hospital patients referred to Kitovu had cost them millions of shillings in unpaid medical bills.
He says the decision will not be lifted unless government increases funding on Primary health care from 14% to at least 25%.
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Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Masaka hospital medical superintendent has declined to comment on the allegations against her hospital.
Mary Kabuho, the Masaka hospital administrator says the allegations are baseless. Kabuho says that their casualty ward is always open 24hours with a team of hardworking working officers, who attend to patients.
She claims that Kitovu hospital is facing a financial meltdown which has nothing to do with referrals. Kabuho has also advised Kitovu to submit their application to the health ministry to get the regional hospital status other than spoiling the hospital name, which is set to be upgraded into a national referral one.
But Joseph Juuko Katungi, a former patient of Masaka hospital insists that the hospital only works Monday to Friday. Katungi, a resident of Lyantonde wants the health ministry to conduct an impromptu visit and the results will be disastrous. Katungi claims that he personally went for treatment at the hospital and found several other patients stranded with no doctor to treat them. Katungi says he has lost faith in Masaka regional hospital.

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