Uganda Cancer Institute defends new user fees

The Executive Director of Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) Dr Jackson Oryem has defended the new pay policy saying that the institute has need more money to run its activities.

Addressing journalists on Monday at Uganda Cancer Institute, Dr Oryem said, UCI has a mandate to raise revenue as part of the non-tax revenue to be able to boost its budget and run the institute.

“In as far as our budget is concerned, we are supposed to raise a certain amount of money to meet our services. And if we don’t have that, in fact, within our budget there is going to be that gap,” explained Oryem.

Early this year, Oryem made lamentations of poor funding to explain the malfunctioning of the radiotherapy machine.

UCI needs on average Shs 120 billion to be able to effectively offer cancer treatment services.

According to the head the Accounts department at UCI, Ddungu Ndawula, the institute is operating on budget of Shs 8.6 billion of which Shs 3.9 billion is spent on salaries.

Currently, the institute only generates Shs 1.8 billion as part of non-tax revenue which is not enough for the services required by the institute to provide.

“The non-wage recurrent budget is funded with Shs 4.7 billion; non-tax revenue accounts for Shs 1.8 billion which is 39% of the non-wage recurrent budget. If you look at this, obviously, you realise that money available to the institute is soo little,” said Ndawula.

Uganda Cancer Institute receives over 50,000 cancer patients annually of whom, 10% are international patients, 5% non-Ugandans living in Uganda and the rest Ugandans.

Until the introduction of a new pay policy, patients received free radiotherapy services.

With the new policy however, all Patients are required to pay for treatment investigations which includes X-ray and Ultra sound scan for Shs 10,000 each in addition to Shs 300,000 for radiotherapy services.

Private and international patients pay Shs 500,000 and $2,000 for the radiotherapy services respectively.

This amount covers 25 radiotherapy sessions a patient is required to undertake in the course of their treatment.

Patients categorized under automatic waiver category or those that come in in critical conditions will receive free treatment.

“Somebody comes, is very poor, from upcountry and does not have any relatives around to take care of them, such patients are usually assessed by our social workers and we provide them with a waiver. Another category we consider in case by case are children,” said Oryem

Civil servants recommended by government institution shall also be given a waiver.