Heart Institute Says Impending Merger Will Cost Uganda Critical Specialists

Medics conduct a surgery procedure at the Uganda Heart Institute.

The Executive Director, Uganda Heart Institute, Dr John Omangino has raised concern over the impending merger between the Institute and Uganda Cancer Institute which he said is likely to cost the country super specialists in heart related procedures.

He said that merging the Uganda Heart Institute with another institution will cost the country specialists some of whom have already begun seeking greener pastures.

Dr Omangino expressed the concerns on Thursday while appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Health to present the institute’s budget framework paper for the financial year 2019/20.

The Executive Director said that given its current status as an autonomous institution, the Uganda Heart Institute requires super specialized health workers who have put in much time to attain these qualifications required.

“Merging this institution back to Mulago hospital is undermining the specialists in the institute,” Omangino said.

He said that many of the super specialized health workers at the Heart Institute will opt for other employment opportunities since they are highly qualified to serve in other fields at Mulago hospital.

“Mulago only recognizes up to specialists and that is what Public Service does. Specialists are only Masters Degree holders, but no body in the world can allow you to touch a heart when you are at that level. You must have gone for further studies,” Omangino said.

“We have managed to create all these super specialists because of our autonomy, so returning us to Mulago is like returning a university to a Secondary school,” he added.

He noted that as a result of the pending merger, some of his staff have already handed in their resignations as they look for better placements before the merger.

On the other hand, Dr. Omangino requested for the committee of Parliament to push for the required Shs 259bn required for the construction of the Uganda Heart Institute.

There has been a long standing debate on the need for government to reduce its size and spending as part of austerity measures.

In September last year, Cabinet approved the move to downsize the structure of government by merging some agencies.

Government says the merging of some of these agencies is meant to improve efficiency in service delivery, harmonize salaries and cut down on wasteful expenditure.

The push towards the reduction of duplicated Agencies and government parastatals has been a sustained debate with many terming these entities as unnecessary.

The restructuring is aimed to align functions, structures, plans and budgets of government based on national strategic plans for efficiency. A total of 153 agencies, Commissions and Authorities were reviewed.

Cabinet resolved to merge Uganda Cancer Institute and the Uganda Heart Institute and the two be returned to Mulago Specialized Hospital.

The Uganda Virus Research Institute, National Chemotherapeutic Research Institute and Joint Clinical Research Centre will also be merged under Uganda National Management Health Research Organization.

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