How govt plans to use Shs2.9tn to fix ailing health sector

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How govt plans to use Shs2.9tn to fix ailing health sector
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Health sector allocated 2.946 trillion for 2024/2025 financial year.

The government has announced a total allocation of Shs2.946 trillion in the health sector for the 2024/25 financial year.

According to the allocations, key interventions will include disease prevention, provision of essential medicines, welfare improvement for health workers, and the construction and rehabilitation of health infrastructure.

Specific priorities outlined by government include:

Promotion and implementation of interventions for disease prevention and health education against communicable, non-communicable, and neglected tropical diseases and injuries.

An additional Shs100 billion for essential medicines.

Increased wage allocations to improve the welfare of health workers, including medical interns and senior house officers, and to facilitate the recruitment of staff for upgraded HC IIIs.

Construction and rehabilitation of health infrastructure, including the Uganda Cancer Institute, Regional Cancer Centres, Uganda Heart Institute, Intensive Care Units, and imaging centres at referral hospitals.

Digitisation of the national health system to enhance service delivery and track medical supplies and health worker performance.

Equipping and renovating dilapidated hospitals nationwide, including in the Kampala Metropolitan Area.

Strengthening medical reference laboratories, establishing the East African Community Regional Centre of Excellence for Virology at the Uganda Virus Research Institute, and the National Public Health Institute.

Establishment of a Pharmaceutical Industrial Park and strengthening the National Drug Authority regulatory framework.

However, health advocate Peter Eceru has expressed concerns over the budget. Eceru points out that despite the increases in funding for certain areas, the reduction in the allocation for Primary Health Care (PHC) will negatively affect the sector, potentially leading to a sicker population.

"While the increased funding for specific votes in the health sector is commendable, the decline in money allocated to Primary Health Care is alarming. This reduction will undermine efforts to maintain a healthy population and could result in more people becoming ill," Eceru stated.

As Uganda continues to grapple with various health challenges, the balancing act between specialized healthcare investments and the foundational aspects of primary health care remains a critical issue.

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