‘Critical Reforms Needed to Accelerate Universal Health Coverage in Uganda’


For Uganda to accelerate towards universal health coverage (UHC), a number of critical reforms need to be made, in order to achieve equity.

This is according to the Executive Director of the Platform on Human Resources for Health at the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) Dr. Patrick Kadama. He was giving a keynote address yesterday at the start of the symposium.

“There is need for reforms to manage social determinants of health through stronger inter-sectoral action. We also need reforms to introduce patient centered or family based health care services, and reforms to strengthen health governance and management,” he explained.

Extension of health-care networks to where they are not available is yet another of the reforms proposed by Dr. Kadama. This, he explained, requires urgent reform of human resources for health policies to attract committed persons a

nd to ensure retention as well as proper human resource management arrangements.

Kadama keynote

Dr. Kadama delivers his keynote address

“We are no longer seeing the best students joining medicine or nursing. This is a big problem which needs to be fixed,” he lamented.

Upgrade of the health infrastructure; strengthening policies and management of essential medical products, commodities and a supply chain; and reforms in health financing to stratify for pooling mechanisms according to need, were the other requisites for extending health care networks, as espoused by Dr. Kadama.

One other major reform he suggested was “accelerating reforms for development of mechanisms of social health protection with special attention to social security and pension reforms as well as arrangements for support of the indigents including children and the growing number of the elderly.”

However, according Dr. Kadama, Uganda has registered some positive developments on a number of indicators such as the under-five and maternal mortality over the years, albeit at slow progress.

Keynote graph

None-the-less, this, he argued, is still being over shadowed by a number of gaps that still abound as far as health development is concerned. These he said included inequality in health outcome, lack of secure health financing cover for a large part of the population and constrained coverage for essential services.

Others include lack of social safety networks for households, weak inter-sectoral framework for health development, and health Governance and management deficits.

The health systems scientist also cautioned against the assumption by some that health insurance leads to equity.

freddie keynote

Associate Professor Freddie Ssengooba, Team Leader of the SPEED initiative under which the symposium is being held