Uganda Heart Institute

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Uganda Heart Institute
Uganda Ministry of Health
Location Mulago, Kampala, Uganda
Care system Public
Hospital type General and Teaching
Affiliated university Makerere University College of Health Sciences
Emergency department I
Beds 200 (Planned)
Founded 1988
Other links Hospitals in Uganda
Medical education in Uganda

Uganda Heart Institute (UHI), is a specialized, public, tertiary care medical facility owned by the Uganda Ministry of Health. It is a component of Mulago National Referral Hospital, the largest hospital in Uganda, which serves as the teaching hospital of Makerere University College of Health Sciences.[1]


The Institute is located on Mulago Hill in the northern part of the city of Kampala. It sits within the Mulago Hospital Complex, the teaching hospital of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences. This location is approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi), by road, north-east of the central business district of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda.[2] The coordinates of the Institute are 0°20'17.0"N, 32°34'31.0"E (Latitude:0.338056; Longitude:32.575278).[3]


The Uganda Heart Institute is the specialized unit within Mulago National Referral Hospital that diagnoses, treats, and manages heart diseases, including birth abnormalities, infections, heart attacks, and heart surgery. The unit is semi-autonomous and is headed by a director and supervised by the Ministry of Health. The board of directors of the Institute is composed of leading politicians, government consultants, business-people, university professors, cardiologists, and cardio-thoracic surgeons in Uganda.[1] In recognition of its special status as a super specialist facility, a bill is pending before parliament which when enacted will transform it into a fully autonomous institution.[4]


In 1988, the Uganda Heart Foundation, in collaboration with the Uganda Ministry of Health, Makerere University and Mulago National Referral Hospital, started the Uganda Heart Institute, using space provided on Ward 1C, in the New Mulago Hospital Complex. This resurrected plans to establish a specialized cardiac unit at Mulago, began in 1958, but were killed in 1972, with the expulsion of the Ugandan Asians by dictator Idi Amin.[1] Since 1988, the Institute has received valuable contribution from national and international donors including the Rotary Club.[5] Media reports indicate that of the 1.5 million children born every year in Uganda, about 15,000 have heart defects at birth (congenital heart abnormalities). Of those, about 8,000 children require corrective surgeries. Uganda's only heart institute has the capacity to perform only 1,000 heart operations annually. That leaves a backlog of 7,000 youngsters every year.[6]

Expansion plans[edit]

Beginning in August 2015, the Government of Uganda plans to break ground for a new 200 bed hospital to be named Uganda Institute of Cardiothoracic Diseases, to replace the current Uganda Heart Institute. The new hospital will have three operating theatres, cardiac catheterization laboratories, an Intensive Care Unit, and research facilities. The construction will be funded by a US$64.9 million (UGX:169 billion) loan from the Islamic Development Bank. It is anticipated that the Institute will seek financial autonomy to raise funds, hire staff, pay salaries, and procure supplies, independent of Mulago Hospital, similar to the autonomy enjoyed by the Uganda Cancer Institute.[7][8]

The New Vision newspaper, reported in November 2016, that Uganda Heart Institute had acquired land measuring 2.5 acres (10,000 m2) along Owen Road in the Mulago neighborhood, where it was going to build its new headquarters. The new complex will consist of three towers: (a) the first tower will house the outpatient clinics and hospital beds, including an intensive care unit (b) the second tower will include research laboratories and conference rooms and (c) the third tower will house critical staff, such as research fellows, residents and biomedical engineers. Total cost for the entire project is budgeted at US$65 million, of which US$51 million is for construction and the US$14 million balance is for equipment.[9]

New developments[edit]

On Monday 22 January 2018, an all-Ugandan team of 14 healthcare specialists performed the first coronary artery bypass surgery operation by an all Ugandan team, in the history of the heart institute. The successful 10-hour operation was billed at USh18 million (approx. US$5,000), compared to USh300 million (approx. US$83,000), if it were done in a private hospital in South Africa, a common destination for Ugandan patients, with means.[10][11]

In April 2018, a cohort of 11 patients with abnormal heart rhythms, underwent a procedure called catheter ablation using the radiofrequency ablation method. All eleven of the patients benefited and recovered well. This was the first time this type of procedure was performed in Uganda.[12]

Board of directors[edit]

As of February 2013, the following individuals constituted the board of directors of the Institute:[1]

List of medical directors of UHI[edit]

The following cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons have served as the director of the Uganda Heart Institute since its foundation in 1988:[1]

  1. Francis Omaswa, cardiovascular surgeon, 1988 - 1998
  2. Roy Mugerwa, cardiologist, 1998 - 2008
  3. John Omagino, cardiothoracic surgeon, since 2008

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Ssebunnya, Robert (27 February 2013). "Mulago can now handle open heart surgery". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "Distance Between Central Kampala And Mulago With Map". Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Google. "Location of Uganda Heart Institute At Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Musasizi, Simon (1 February 2015). "Heart Institute to split with Mulago". The Observer (Uganda). Kampala. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  5. ^ Newvision Reporter (1 March 2014). "Uganda Heart Institute Sends More Staff to US for Skills". New Vision (Kampala). Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Birungi, Sandra Janet (8 March 2015). "15,000 children born with heart problems annually". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Nabatanzi, Violet (12 January 2015). "Heart institute to undergo sh169b expansion". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  8. ^ Musasizi, Simon (1 February 2015). "Uganda: Heart Institute to Split With Mulago". The Observer (Uganda) via Kampala. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Norman Katende, and Andrew Lule (13 November 2016). "Heart Institute new home to cost USh225 billion". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  10. ^ Ainebyona, Emmanuel (24 January 2018). "Heart institute conducts unique open heart surgery". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  11. ^ Ainebyona, Emmanuel (27 January 2018). "Mulago patient speaks out after open heart surgery". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  12. ^ Ainebyona, Emmanuel (11 April 2018). "UHI corrects abnormal heart beats for 11 patients in first-ever procedure". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 11 April 2018. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 00°20′17″N 32°34′31″E / 0.33806°N 32.57528°E / 0.33806; 32.57528