Friday June 13 2014

Health budget gets extra Shs70 billion

By Agatha Ayebazibwe

Kampala- The Health sector has been allocated Shs1,197 trillion in the Financial Year 2014/2015, indicating a Shs70 billion increase from the last financial budget.

In the last financial year, the sector was allocated Shs1,127 trillion representing 8.6 per cent of the national cake. There is a slight increase in the funds allocated to the sector by 0.3 per cent this financial year.

The health budget still falls short of the Abuja Declaration which Uganda is a signatory that requires governments to commit 15 per cent of their national budgets to the sector.

In her budget speech, the Minister of Finance, Ms Maria Kiwanuka, said the emphasis for this year will focus on malaria control and prevention and renovations of major district health facilities which have been grappling with dilapidated structures.

“Malaria hampers economic development by negatively impacting on the workforce. This government will implement the malaria Strategy for effective prevention and control through the mass distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and mass indoor residual spraying commencing in the high malaria-prone areas of Lake Kyoga and northern Uganda,” Ms Kiwanuka said.

She also noted that the Malaria Strategy will also entail enhanced diagnosis and treatment of all cases before treatment to improve case management as well as providing correct treatment.

The key highlights in the last financial year, according to Ms Kiwanuka was the procurement of essential medicines, including ARVs tuberculosis medicine and reproductive health supplies as well as the increased enrolment of people living with HIV on Anti-Retroviral drugs from 376,000 in 2012 to 570,000 in 2013.

She also hinted on government’s plan to enhance health workers remuneration, capacity building, expansion of health facility infrastructure at local government and national level and construction of staff houses at lower level facilities to address the challenges of absenteeism.