By John Odyek
Parliament has passed a sh11.4 trillion national budget for the 2012/13 fi nancial year after a protracted struggle with the Government over enhancing the pay for health workers.
The MPs last Friday approved an additional sh6.5b for the Ministry of Health from other sectors to facilitate the enhanced pay and recruitment of more health workers.
The total national budget is sh11.4 trillion, including funds to statutory bodies and commissions. In a trade-off between the Government and the MPs, the two agreed to provide additional funds of sh49.5b through a supplementary budget over and above the sh6.5b.
However, only sh6.5b is readily available while the rest will be provided piece-meal. The House asked Dr Christine Ondoa to provide, within one month a workplan on how the little additional funds would be used.
It also tasked Maria Kiwanuka, the finance minister, to look for more funds for the health sector and also come up within three months with a supplementary budget for the health sector.
The parliamentary committee on health had wanted the Government to deal with the issue of human resource shortage as a key bottleneck in the delivery of health services.
Dr Sam Lyomoki, the chairperson of the health committee, said in the next financial year other health workers such as midwives and nurses will also receive a salary enhancement.
He said the total budget for the health sector stands at sh847b which was equivalent to 8% of the national budget. “We want the health budget increased to at least 15% of the national budget as per the Abuja Declaration,” Lyomoki stressed.