Government unveils Shs2 trillion refugee health response plan

Sunday January 27 2019

Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister. FILE

Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister. FILE PHOTO 

By Franklin Draku & Zuurah Karungi

The government of Uganda has unveiled a $583.3m (Shs2.1 trillion) health sector response plan for the refugees in the country and host communities, targeting at least eight million people.

The new five-year government health sector Integrated refugee response plan was launched on Friday under the theme: “Universal Health Coverage for All.”

The government officials from the ministry of health and their counterparts from relief, disaster and refugees revealed that the new plan would integrate the health response for refugees and host communities in districts to ensure equitable access to quality health services.

The five-year plan will benefit more than eight million people in the refugee hosting districts.

The health ministry officials also say the key areas to be covered under the plan, include provision of medicines and drugs which will cover both the host communities and the refugees, recruitment of human resources and provision of infrastructure.

While launching the programme on Saturday, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister said, Uganda has over the years demonstrated to the rest of the world that it has on open door policy for the people who are threatened by political instabilities at their home countries. He said the programme will give equal access to both the citizens and the refugees in accessing health services.

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“By including refugees into our national development plan, we are championing the principle of ‘leave no one behind’ in line with our commitment to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development,” Dr Rugunda said.

Uganda hosts more than 1.1m refugees from neighbouring countries of Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Dr Ruth Jane Aceng, the Minister of Health revealed that annually, government will spend about $100m (about Shs367b) to provide health services in the refugee hosting districts.

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