PM Nabbanja clarifies on Mulago kidney transplant controversy

The donor and the recipient wearing red and blue shirts standing with transplant surgeons at Mulago Hospital. (PHOTO/URN)

The donor and the recipient wearing red and blue shirts standing with transplant surgeons at Mulago Hospital. (PHOTO/URN)

The government has allowed only five kidney transplant procedures to be conducted at the Mulago National Referral Hospital, as the country concludes plans to operationalize the Organ Transplant facility. The procedure will be offered at no cost to patients with severe kidney disease, undergoing dialysis.

The Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, revealed this during the Prime Minister’s Question Time during the plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, on Thursday, 15 February 2024.

Nabbanja was responding to the Central Youth Representative, Hon. Agnes Kirabo, who had complained about the cost of a kidney transplant at Mulago Hospital. Kirabo noted that a kidney transplant costs Shs46 million, which she said was untenable for ordinary citizens.

Nabbanja reiterated that Shs46 million was a media-generated figure and that the Government has not yet established the cost of a kidney transplant.

“The Government has not yet set the cost and our plan through the Mulago team is to determine the price after more transplants have been made to get the right picture for the cost implication,” she said.

The premier pledged that after a thorough assessment of all that entails the entire process of kidney transplant and full recovery of a patient, a reasonable figure shall be derived and Ugandans shall be informed.

She was nevertheless pleased that the first kidney transplant successfully conducted at Mulago in December 2023 by Ugandan doctors and experts from India, gives hope that the government is moving towards saving its citizens from the heavy bills of traveling abroad for transplants.

“The cost of running specialised services is extremely expensive and such services have been costing Ugandans over the US$18,000 on average excluding the cost of ticket and maintenance abroad. The success story of Mulago Hospital in correcting this health condition will save Ugandans from travelling to India and other countries for kidney transplants,” said Nabbanja.

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