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A communique on the National Dialogue on the Sustainability of   Essential Health services in Uganda

 

Introduction

The Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in collaboration with UNICEF held a Public Dialogue on the National Budget 2020/21 on 20th February 2020 at the Golf Course Hotel, Kampala. This year’s Budget dialogue was based on theme "Sustainability of Financing for Essential Health Services". This theme was partly informed by the vision embedded in the new National Development Plan (NDP-III) which targets to achieve universal health coverage through expanding access to health care services to lower local government levels, whilst increasing access to affordable medicine and health supplies.

The  Public Dialogue brought together the various stakeholders both in the  Public, private and NGO sectors to examine ways through which essential health services, as well as other key child and adolescent focused interventions can be financed in a more systematic and sustainable manner. This communique briefly gives the highlights of the proceedings of the Dialogue as indicated below

  1. Welcome remarks from Dr. Diego Angemi- Chief of Social Policy and Advocacy,UNICEF

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  1. Presentation by Dr. Ibrahim Kasirye, Director Research, EPRC

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  1. Panel Discussion

The panel discussion consisted of 4 experts that discussed differently the theme based on their experience  

  1. Keneth Mugambe, Director Budget, MoFPED

 

  1. Clara Mira- The IMF Country Representative, Uganda

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  1. Plenary session

The plenary discussion rotated around the following issues;

  1. Health Insurance

Participants indicated the need for Government to fast track the implementation of the National Health care insurance scheme to improved access of quality health care and protecting households from catastrophic spending.

  1. Public private partnership Involvement

Government needs to incentivize the Private sector and NGOs to attract more funding to the health sector in an effort to supplement the public funding to the sector. Participants indicated the need for Ministry of Health to initiate PPPs in nutrition and health promotion programmes. 

  1. Accountability of the Health sector resources

The participants stressed the need for efficiency to ensure that the available resources in the Health sector are managed well to enhance health outputs. Among other issues raised, included need to leverage the bigger allocations to the accountability sector to monitor the health service delivery. For instance there are reported cases that Government drugs are stolen from hospitals and sold in Private clinics and in other countries like DRC, South Sudan and Tanzania

  1. Increasing the Health sector Allocation

 Participants indicated lack of commitment by the Government to fulfil the Abuja declaration of allocating 15% of the National budget allocation to Health sector adding that the allocation has stagnated below 10% for the last 10 years. Further, the stakeholders called for more funding in health programmes that include; Herbal medicine research, health promotion, health lifestyle research and revitalising the training curriculum of health workers.

Way forward and emerging issues