Parliament has reprimanded Mbarara regional referral hospital director George Upenytho for failing to stock oxygen and ordering patients to buy it from garages. Upenytho was this afternoon appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru to answer audit queries for financial year 2012/2013.
Upenytho was this afternoon appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru to answer audit queries for financial year 2012/2013.
Mwiru blasted the hospital director for lack of managerial skills needed to plan and budget for the hospital. The committee heard that many lives had been lost because the hospital didn’t have oxygen.
Mbarara Municipality MP Medard Bitekyerezo made a passionate confession to the committee that patients are at pains when sent to garages to get oxygen. He said the patients are confused as to whether oxygen used for welding is the same as the one used on humans.
//Cue In: “I found out….
Cue Out: …for these patients.”//
Upenytho told the committee that he doesn’t have the money to travel to Kampala often to buy oxygen. He explained that the mandate to provide oxygen lies with the National Medical Stores (NMS) although they have slugged on their duties. He says he has on several occasions driven to Mulago Hospital to buy oxygen, and that he doesn’t have money to do that every week.
Ntungamo Woman MP Naome Kabasharira tasked the hospital director to explain why he doesn’t apply to the ministry of finance to use money collected from the private wing to buy oxygen. She accused him of not doing anything to save the lives of the patients.
The committee also pinned Upenytho for failing to reconcile books of accounts. He faced more embarrassment when he called upon his administrator Charles Tumushimye to explain the inconsistence in the cash flow of the hospital.
PAC noted that while the hospital stated its finances to stand 675 million shillings, the receipts showed expenditure of 437 million shillings.
Tumushimye was tasked by the committee to show how the discrepancy came about but failed. The administrator’s explanation that the money accumulated from other commitment was thrown out since he didn’t have backing documents. He attempted to claim that some of the moneys were salaries, but was reminded by Kibuuku county MP Saleh Kamba that salaries are controlled by the Ministry of Public Service and not the hospital.
Seeing that he was defeated by the committee, Tumushimye admitted that he wasn’t sure of the books of accounts he prepared.
The hospital director also failed to answer queries on the unregistered assets of the hospital. He said management has embarked on the process to engrave all hospital property.
On the dilapidated structures, Upenytho said some of the buildings had been condemned and putting money on them would be wastage of resources. He said however, some resources are being committed to renovation of other structures.