Parliament on Tuesday, 10th May 2016 passed the Uganda Heart Institute Bill, 2015 which will make the Institute a self-accounting body with a budget independent of the Health Ministry.
The object of the Bill is to establish the Institute as an autonomous government agency mandated to undertake and coordinate the management of cardiovascular diseases.
Presenting a report on the Bill, the Chairperson of the Health Committee, Hon. Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo said that the Auditor General had noted that there was no Act in place to cater for the institute making its functioning difficult.
“The Auditor General observed that there was no enabling legislation. This makes the operations at the Heart Institute challenging,” he said.
The Chairperson added that the Institute shall have a board of directors which shall be the governing body responsible for the performance of the functions of the Institute.
“For proper functioning of the board, there is need for a board that is multi skilled with members from diverse backgrounds,” Dr. Bitekyerezo said.
Dr. Bitekyerezo added that the Heart Institute should establish the appropriate departments responsible for the provision of palliative care and rehabilitation services.
Members of Parliament however, raised the issue of working conditions of the health workers at the Uganda Heart Institute.
Hon. Paul Mwiru (Jinja East) said that government needs to address the welfare of the personnel at the Institute.
“We need to improve on the working conditions of the staff by paying them better so they do not leave for greener pastures,” Mwiru said.
Hon. Helen Asamo (PWDs) said that making the Institute autonomous will ease the procurement processes at the Institute.
“This will help them procure equipment without having to go through the rigorous processes,” she said.
The Chief Opposition Whip, Hon. Cecilia Ogwal called on government to decentralise the services of the Uganda Heart Institute.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye said that the Uganda Heart Institute is one of the most advanced care centres in Africa.
“With the passing of the Bill, any heart condition including transplants. We are working on reducing referrals abroad,” he said.