1 October 2012

Uganda: Health Funding Was Misunderstood - Museveni

Rwakitura — Uganda's President, Yoweri Museveni has said that the recent standoff between Parliament and the executive over the funding of the health sector was as a result of misunderstanding.

Addressing the press last week at his country home in Rwakitura about 521km west of the capital Kampala, the president said that the country had made good strides in the health sector but admitted that there was still more work to be done.

"It (Health) is good in some aspects. Take for instance the immunization side of it. We started with six but have added cervical cancer, hepatitis B and others," he said.

He added that the recent disagreement was because some people had not yet understood.

He said, "Ministry of Health had not worked out a health delivery structure in a manner that is affordable and cost effective."

He however said that he would not agree on the proposal to cut the defence budget as there were things that had not yet been completed.

"The defence ministry is underfunded, there are things we have not yet completed. We will look to fund the health sector from other areas," he said.

Media reports had recently indicated that Ugandan legislators had locked horns with the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Museveni during a debate over the state of the country's health sector.

They reportedly demanded government to cut funding to Uganda Bureau of Standards, Defence and Electoral Commission to raise Ush260bn for the limping health sector.

The MPs further threatened to block the passing of the budget if the Executive fell short of heeding to their calls, arguing that the health sector was in urgent need of funds to recruit 6,000 more health workers and also motivate them by a 50% salary increment.

According to the statement from health Minister, Christine Ondoa, government allocated Ushs49.5 billion to cater for the requirement.

"Only Ushs6.5 billion is immediately available for recruitment, while the balance, Ushs43 billion, will be provided within one month," read the statement.

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