By Obed K Katureebe
Government of Uganda will make systematic increase in health funding in the financial year 2018/19 to be able to eventually achieve the Abuja Declaration target agreed on in 2001 that set health financing in developing to 15% of their annual budget.
This is in fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity
This was revealed by Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng while making her remarks as she opened a three day symposium on Health financing for universal health coverage in low and middle income countries at Serena Hotel in Kampala on the 16th August 2017. The symposium was convened by SPEED a health project in Makerere University School of Public Health that is designed to strengthen capacity for policy analysis, advice and influence. The 5 year project began in 2015 and is funded by the European Union. SPEED supports policymakers to monitor the implementation of vital programmes for the realization of policy goals for Universal Health Coverage. This year’s symposium’s theme is “Financing for Universal Health Coverage: More money for Health AND more health for the money”.
Health financing currently stands at a paltry 7.8% of Uganda’s annual budget and suffered a further setback in the financial year 2017/18 when it was reduced to 6%. “We reduced health financing to 6% this financial year because government felt it correct to invest in other sectors that will further increase our revenue. However, we agreed and it was minuted in cabinet that come next financial year we will resume upward increments to health funding to be able to adequately finance the health sector”, Dr Aceng said. Aceng further thanked the conveners of the symposium SPEED who are under Makerere University School of Public Health for their continued support to her ministry especially in health related research.
The opening ceremony panel singing the national anthem
She further thanked the donors especially the European Union for their continued support to SPEED in gathering all the relevant information in support of Health Financing to be able to achieve universal health coverage for all Ugandans.
Earlier, one of the keynote speakers Prof. Kabir Sheikh presented a paper highlighting the successes and challenges in providing universal health care in developing countries using India as a case study.
“Governments need to be more accountable and take huge responsibility in order to streamline health governance,” Prof Kabir observed. He said that the biggest challenge for health system governance in developing countries is inadequate laws and rules to support proper health governance. The other challenges according to Prof. Kabir was lack of capabilities and proper coordination within government agencies in their pursuit to enhance health governance.
Kabir further observed that institutional capture by private interests together with lack of adequate community awareness and empowerment was a huge challenge in health governance in developing countries.
Dr. Kabir at the symposium