Mulago Specialized Women’s Hospital Faces Critical IT Staff Shortage

KAMPALA – Parliament’s recent report has unveiled that Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital operates with only one Information Technology (IT) staff, even though the required staff structure includes six members.

This revelation stems from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the Auditor General’s findings for 2021/2022, which highlighted numerous IT governance concerns at the hospital and across the health sector.

Medard Sseggona, Chairperson of PAC and Busiro East representative, expressed concern about the lack of IT staff implementation, not only at Mulago but also at Kiruddu and China-Uganda Naguru Hospital.

The report underscores that despite the hospital’s substantial construction cost and its mission to alleviate congestion at Mulago National Referral Hospital, staff shortages and limited funding have hindered its full potential.

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Sseggona revealed that many health facilities lacked approved IT risk management policies, risk registers, and business continuity plans, contravening the National Information Security Policy 2014.

In response, these facilities pledged to collaborate with National Information and Technology Authority (NITA-U) and the Ministry of ICT to establish IT governance structures and improve IT resource management.

However, PAC cautioned that the absence of ICT governance structures has led to misalignment in IT investments, ultimately affecting patient care.

The committee recommended that Accounting Officers expedite engagement with NITA-U and the Ministry of ICT to establish IT risk management frameworks and institute governance policies for effective IT resource management.

Moreover, Parliament criticized Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital’s management for failing to dispose of 71 IT equipment items that exceeded their useful life.

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Despite the hospital’s intention to gradually dispose of these assets, Parliament urged swift action, emphasizing that delays could impact patient diagnosis outcomes.

The committee stressed that delayed IT asset disposal diminishes their value and poses authenticity risks in diagnosis.

It recommended that the Accounting Officer follow the Board of Survey recommendations for proper asset disposal.

Following debates on the PAC report, Parliament approved the recommendations and now awaits the treasury memorandum outlining the government’s steps to implement these recommendations.

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