Health ministry “clashes” with US Embassy over shs 85 billion Ebola funds

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The Ministry of Health has "clashed" with the US Embassy in Uganda over shs 85 billion in Ebola response money.

Minister of State for Primary Health Care Margaret Muhanga told plenary on Wednesday that the health ministry needed shs 75 billion to implement an Ebola epidemic response strategy.

Muhanga stated that while they had approached the Ministry of Finance to supply the money, the health ministry had yet to receive a response. She stated that the ministry was able to raise shs 2.1 billion from its own funds to respond to the Ebola outbreak.

Hours after her presentation, the US embassy in Uganda released a statement via social media in which it claimed that since the Ebola outbreak was first reported on September 20, 2022, it had given the government USD 22.3 million (roughly shs. 85 billion) to support the Ministry of Health's response strategies.

On their website, the American embassy also posted a fact sheet outlining how the money was allocated and split among its many implementation partners.

A local human rights activist asked Minister Muhanga for further information about the situation, but she steadfastly insisted that the ministry had not yet received any funding from the US Embassy.

“Please come to the ministry and show us where that money is because we haven’t got it. Or ask the PS (Dr Diana Atwiine) if she received that money. Don’t confuse the public,” Muhanga challenged.

The Ministry of Health stated that they had not yet received information regarding the contributions made, despite the US Embassy's claim that they had done so through numerous implementing partners.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, senior public relations officer for the ministry of health, tweeted that an accountability conference has been scheduled for Thursday, November 10, 2022, in order to determine how much funding the implementing partners received and from whom.

“Thurday next week, we are having an accountability forum where we hope to know which implementing partner has received how much?” Ainebyoona said.

“What that that much has been able to do and where ?? Accountability and transparency is two-way,” he noted further.

Ugandans online have been irked by the controversy surrounding the funding, and asked the Ministry of Health to clear the air on how much money has been received.

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