At least 7,000 US Dollars, approximately 24.5 million Uganda Shillings has been paid by government to flight doctors to immediately airlift the State Minister for Primary Healthcare Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu to Nairobi.
The revelation was made by Sarah Opendi, the General Duties Minister in the Ministry of Health, today while appearing before Parliament's Health Committee chaired by Dr. Micheal Bukenya.
She told the legislators that Moriku will be airlifted to Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi before end of today for further management, days after she was put on life-support at the International Hospital Kampala (IHK).
Her statement followed queries from Members of Parliament who accused government of failing to attend to a minister in urgent need of medical assistance.
Opendi refuted these reports explaining that the delay to transfer Moriku was due to her delicate condition that could only permit her to be flown to nearby Nairobi or South Africa but there were no vacancies in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) in both countries.
"Yesterday morning we received a phone call that there was a vacancy in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Nairobi. And of course I went to IHK, got a referral note from the doctors, we processed the referral and the flying doctors were paid because that was the condition that they need upfront money before they can evacuate," said Opendi.
She reported that 7,000 US Dollars was paid but it was late for the doctors to travel since it was night and planned to make the flight today.
However, Opendi said that the planned flight this morning was further interrupted after she received information that the only bed that was available at Aga Khan University Hospital had again been occupied.
Opendi said that following this new development, she engaged the Agha Khan Ambassador who took up the matter and ensured that a bed is availed at the hospital so that the sick minister is immediately transferred.
The health of Dr. Moriku, who is also the Moyo District Woman MP, started deteriorating dramatically last week after suspected food poisoning last month.
She was then first admitted at Mulago National Referral Hospital during the period doctors were on strike and later discharged but after a few days her condition relapsed causing her re-admission at Platinum Hospital.
It was at Platinum Hospital, according to Opendi, that Moriku first developed breathing complications before he was transferred to IHK and put on life support machine.