Uganda continues to crawl towards attainment of the 15% budget allocation to the health sector as per the Abuja Declaration, if this year’s budget proposal for the health sector is anything to go by.
Speaking at the 75thState of the Nation Dialogue on Financing Uganda’s Health System, fears were raised on accountability of the little resources allocated.
According to the 2019 /2020 budget proposal, the budget for the health sector will be Shs 2.3 trillion which represents about 7.4% of the entire budget. This still falls short of the 15% allocation to the health sector as per the Abuja declaration.
Arthur Bainomugisha, the executive director of ACODE, funding to the health sector has declined.
“We think while government has to prioritise financing of infrastructure, it needs to keep pace in financing the health sector,” he said.
Senior economist Dr Fred Muhumuza revealed that corruption tendencies have equally been a major setback to the funding in the health sector.
“We need to do a lot in area of corruption especially theft of medicine and supplies. This has to solved at institution level,” Muhumuza said.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine proposed punitive punishment for health workers caught stealing funds.
When they are taken to court these [health workers] are given lenient fines. I had suggested we resort to express fines. If we catch you with drugs worth one million, you pay 10 times more. We would make stealing very risky but we are patting people on the back,” she said.
Atwine said there is need to have effective performance contracts adding that the notion of permanent and pensionable employment is the cause of poor performance in the health sector.