By Moses Okoed
Health being one of the most crucial sectors in the economy, overtime, there has been efforts by the Government to ensure that declarations and commitments are domesticated through developing national policies and guidelines for effective delivery of health services.
Some of these efforts are visible in the national budget, National Development Plan (NDP 2010) Health Sector Strategic Investment Plan (HSSIP 2010/11-2014/15) road map to accelerate the reduction of maternal and new born morbidity and mortality in Uganda 2007-2015 and the National Health Policy (NHP 2010).
According to the Budget Frame Work Paper FY 2014/15 and the budget speech FY 2014/15, the health sector share of the total budget reduced from 8.6% to 8.4%, 8.6% to 8% respectively. (Though in absolute terms, the amount allocated to the sector slightly increased from 1,129.207 to 1,197.8b). This is way below the Government commitment to the national budget allocation to the health sector by 2015.
There is already an existing gap in the drug supply chain, Uganda AIDS Commission budget remained the same despite the increasing prevalence rate of HIV and AIDS from 6.2 to 7.3 and the impeding donor threats to cut aid. We also note that the budget for reproductive health items remained constant from the previous year at sh8b despite the challenging reproductive health issues, for example, contraceptive prevalence rates of 30%.
Given that there is unmet need in the Sexual and reproductive health, monitoring should be strengthened and allocated more money because critical sectors like health should be prioritised and domestically resourced.
There is much that needs to be done by the Government in ensuring that the sector achieves its targets as per the Abuja declaration.
Health centres in Uganda with an exception of those from grade III and above, the health personnel cannot even be identified from any other members of the community for example in Kakiika Health Centre II in Kayunga district, the staff have complained that since the team from the ministry of health visited the health centre in 2010 and gave them hope of supplying them with uniforms, no action has been taken and this to them discourages them from performing their duties since even the patients have given them little respect because they cannot see any difference between the health personnel and the ordinary community members.
There is need for ministry of health, therefore, to realise that the sector is facing a number of discouraging factors to the personnel that range from poor accommodation, work overloads due to inadequate staffing and to ignore the aspect of staff uniform may also be contributing to the frustration of the staff member that are even few.
The writer Works with Uganda Debt Network