‘Coordination of Government Programmes Essential for realization of Universal Health Coverage’
The first National Symposium on Universal Health coverage has today opened at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala. The three-day symposium is held under the theme “Towards Universal Health Coverage in Uganda: Building on Successes and Ensuring Health Systems Resilience”.
Opening the symposium, Professor Pius Okong who is the Chairman of the Uganda Health Service Commission noted that one of the key challenges currently is the issue of coordination and harmonisation of programmes. Effective coordination is one of the key ingredients of a good plan for universal health coverage.
He pointed out a key issue regarding the visibility of citizens in national policies, saying this is largely due to the informal nature of the Ugandan citizenry. This he said will call for some level of advocacy to ensure the health of Ugandans is reflected as a priority in national development documents.
Acting Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Uganda, Dr. Stefan Lock hailed Uganda for achievements in lowering infant mortality and HIV. He however noted the health system in Uganda still has a lot to do to assure Ugandans of adequate social protection. “Deaths for example related to pregnancy and childbirth remain unacceptably high with an estimated 20 women dying daily while giving birth in Uganda”, he emphasised.
He also hinted on the need for consideration to ensure improved coordination between the various stakeholders and the private sector in government’s efforts to attain Vision 2040.
Dr. Lock speaking at the opening ceremony
Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge Academic Affairs, Prof. Ernest Okello Ogwang committed Makerere University to adequately play the role of evidence generation to support implementation of Universal health coverage. He noted that the University is an effective player in creating opportunities and spaces for stakeholder engagement.
Deputy Dean Makerere University School of Public Health noted that universal health coverage is till utopia to him. He however pledged that the School of Public Health will provide leadership for the process of thinking through what it means and how best Uganda can implement it.
MakSPH Deputy Dean, Associate Professor Christopher Garimoi Orach welcomes the symposium participants.
The symposium is being organized by the Makerere University School of Public Health under the Supporting Policy Engagement for Evidence-based Decisions (SPEED) for Universal Health Coverage. SPEED is a partnership funded by the European Commission.