By Our Reporters

Makerere University management led by Prof Barnabas Nawangwe has demanded for Shs1.4bn as the total sum required to make the Dental School operational. The dilemma was shared by the University Accounting Officer Charles Barugahare during an appearance before Members of Parliament on the Education Committee. The delegation that VC Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe had come to discuss their budget estimates for the coming FY2019/2020.

In a meeting chaired by Pallisa County MP Jacob Opolot, Barugahare revealed that the University in FY2018/2019 purchased and installed 12 dental chairs worth Shs330m but that remains inadequate to operationalize the School.

He said they need up to Shs1.37bn (against the mere Shs400m finance ministry has allocated) to have a properly functioning dental school. This includes Shs130m to procure dental chair accessories, Shs72m to renovate the custodian housing facilities & turn it into a dental technology lab. The other is Shs230m for the construction of the temporally shade for patients reception, canteen, lecture space and storage facilities.

There is need for Shs17m to shift and install 11 old dental chairs from Mulago Allied Health; Shs400m for 20 new phantom heads for practicals; Shs120 million for dental school’ staff furniture and Shs400m for prosthetic dental lab equipment.

The Dental School trains dentistry students and efforts to revitalize it started in the FY2016/2017 with initial budgetary allocation of Shs200m.  It has four specialist units including Orthodontics and Child health dentistry; Oral Maxillofacial unit; Restorative Dentistry and Dental Public Health and Periodontology. It is housed under the Don Bosco Building. The School currently has 17 academic staff out of which 8 are full-time staff, 3 part-time and 6 on contract. Barugahare says Makerere needs more 8 full-time staff under the School to comply with the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC) standard ratio if 1:4. Committee Chairman Opolot said that the allocation of Shs400m annually was unrealistic and won’t make the situation any better. He said in its report, the committee will recommend proper expansion of the cash allocated to Makerere which is the country’s premier academic institution.

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