Who is to blame on the poorly functioning health sector in Uganda

Health facility. Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala. Photo by: Daily Monitor
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Many questions have been raised by various people on different social media platforms concerning the health sector in Uganda. This came following the governmen’s move to airlift the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to Nairobi Kenya for further treatment.

This has left many citizens doubt the health sector. If we fail to treat fatigue related illness, then what can our Doctors treat?, one of the my friends asks, is Uganda a first aid kit or box? another Friend of mine asked.

However, the speaker has not been the first government official to be airlifted abroad for further treatment. The president is always treated from abroad in case of any illness.

According to an article in Daily monitor, every year government spends at least $150 million (about Shs377 billion) on treatment of mostly top government officials abroad, a cost President Museveni wants brought down by restricting the privilege to a few selected severe cases.

To me I believe this money would have been invested in buying more hospital facilities, building hospital structures and enhancing the salaries of our Doctors to enable them work effectively and efficiently.

A leaked report from last December’s ministerial retreat which was convened to assess the government’s performance in the previous year reveals a renewed attempt by the country’s leader to sort out Uganda’s severely stressed health sector.

According to an article in New vision dated 24th June 2018, the Government in the last financial year set aside sh7,700 to buy medicine for every citizen. This money is very little compared to international standard.

The World Health Organization (WHO)recommends $84 (about sh323, 115) health budgetary allocation per person.

Going by the total allocation to the health sector in the 2018/2019 national budget, the situation is way below the required amount that government should spend on every citizen.

At sh2.3 trillion, the health budget represents 7.4% of the total sh32.7 trillion national budget, almost half of what the Abuja declaration (15%) mandates every government must inject into health.

Using the population index of 38 million, will get sh58, 786, a figure that is below the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation.

A case in point, In the 2017/2018 financial year, government allocated sh1.8 trillion to the health sector, representing 6.4%.

With the current sh7.4% allocation, ministry of health officials are optimistic that in subsquent budgets, government will meet the 15% Abuja declaration.

The issue of brain drainage has also attributed to the rotting health sector in Uganda. Many Ugandan doctors have fled the country in search for better paying opportunities.

According to the Latest statistics from the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, more than 2,000, nearly 50 per cent of the registered number of medical practitioners, have left the country in the past 10 years even as the government continues to struggle to attract, recruit and retain doctors in State health facilities.

The Council had 4,200 registered doctors as of July 31, 2013. Out of these, only 2,021 have been licensed by the Council, while only 1,200 are involved in clinical medicine, a role for which they are trained.

Despite fears in the sector that the latest trends do not show any efforts to curb the long lasting problem, authorities say they are moving to deal with the issue once and for all.

Once the government injects more in the health sector, I believe it will be unnecessary for any person let it be government officials to ran abroad for better health facilities.

The moment more money is added in the health sector, more good health facilities shall be purchased, structures constructed and Doctors shall be motivated with better salary arrears hence better health to the citizens.


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