The World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Planning Authority (NPA) convened a stakeholder meeting on the country situational analysis for Social, economic and environmental determinants of health. The one-day meeting held on 3rd August 2016 at Hotel Africana in Kampala brought together stakeholders from diverse but related sectors, including education, health, social justice, gender, road construction, works and transport, law and order, communication, academia, and international development planning and practice.
Opening the meeting, the Head of Population and Social Sector Planning at the National Planning Authority, Dr. John Ssekamatte-Ssebuliba (PhD) noted that the concepts of social, economic and environmental determinants of health are not new but not much attention is paid to them in planning. “Without paying attention to them, we shall be wasting time and resources”, he cautioned.
He said that in order to build human capital for Uganda and turning the population into useable, productive resource, the population must be healthy, knowledgeable and skilled.
Dr. Ssekamatte informed the meeting that one of the Sustainable Development Goals; Universal Health Coverage, makes it incumbent upon all stakeholders to address all aspects of health which inevitably calls for partnership. “Achieving programme-based budgeting requires looking at all aspects and sectors that affect each component, like health”, he emphasised.
Delivering a presentation on Determinants of Health Pathways, Dr. Juliet Bataringaya, Health Systems Advisor at WHO Uganda Country Office, emphasised the importance of paying attention to the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. “The social, economic and environmental determinants of health result into health inequities. If you take into consideration the increase in life expectancy in Uganda, it is important to know whose life expectancy has actually improved”, she illustrated.
She pointed out that one of the key issues under debate is governance for health. She therefore pointed out that this is not a health sector issue alone but focuses on inter-sectoral collaboration; how the various sectors coalesce around health issues to provide optimal service delivery.
She also recommended the structuring of the health sector in a manner that can enable it to reach everybody.
Mr. Ali Walimbwa, Senior Planner with the Ministry of Health assured the stakeholders at the meeting that the Ministry is currently doing its work differently by bringing all stakeholders, collaborators and sectors to the same table for planning and implementation. He pointed out that there is strong focus on data and how it can be used better for decision making and planning.
As some of the changes being discussed to effect inter-sectoral collaboration, Mr. Walimbwa pointed out that questions as to whether money for infrastructural development should appear on the health sector budget have started coming up. He said that another key question is how to ensure accountability by all the different sectors; making sure that they all deliver on their respective commitments and report to each other on progress and challenges.
The SPEED Project Director, Associate Professor Freddie Ssengooba noted that the Vison 2040 promotes and has supported the attainment of the inter-sectoral collaboration. He said the ‘disease’ mind-set has clouded the health sector with well-being rarely paid much attention. He also noted that competition for funds and results amongst sectors will not yield the desired results.
Associate Professor Freddie Ssengooba facilitates a discussion
Stakeholders present in the meeting contributed to the situational analysis through brainstorming on what their contribution is in their respective sectors. These submissions were discussed around the room to come to a clear understanding of the respective mandates, capabilities and development objectives of the sectors represented.
Stakeholders during one of the ‘around-the-room’ discussions of the submissions by the representatives from the various sectors