The performance of the health sector in the 2015/16 financial year being the first year of implementing the new Health Sector Development Plan, National Development Plan II and NRM Manifesto, shows slow progress in attaining the global commitments of ensuring universal health coverage for all.
The national outlook of the health sector shows that maternal mortality is till high at 336/100,000, translating into 17 pregnant mothers dying every day, HIV/Aids prevalence is at 7.3 per cent (AIS Report, 2011) with only 834,000 people accessing treatment out of the 1.6 million people living with HIV (MoH Report ,2015). Government needs to put people’s health first in order to progressively realise middle income status by 2030 since a healthy nation is a productive nation.
Government heavily depends on external financing of healthcare to the tune of 67 per cent households at 23 per cent and government through its taxes at 10 per cent. This trend is so worrying that slow progress is being made to achieve health for all by 2030.
Per capital spending on health is only $12 translating into only Shs42,000 that is far below the $ 73 per capita that government should be spending annually to effectively implement the health sector development plan for the next five years.
Basing on the above, the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development emphasised the importance of domestic resource mobilisation, noting that the “mobilisation and effective use of domestic resources are central to our common pursuit of sustainable development.” The following recommendations be taken:
Government should stop depending on external funding and immediately pass Aids Trust Fund, which is projected to raise additional Shs36 billion annually to cushion the funding gap to treat people living with HIV/Aids under the new test and treat policy 2016. It should also expedite the process of passing the National Health Insurance Bill 2012 into law, which has stalled. Local and central governments should promote transparency and accountability in utilizing health sector funds.
Denis Odwe,
Kampala