13 December 2018

Uganda: High Population a Threat to Universal Health Access - Experts

Kampala — As Uganda yesterday joined the rest of the world to commemorate the Universal Health Coverage Day, health experts have asked government to check the fast-growing population to enable the country achieve healthcare and financial protection for all citizens.

Prof Francis Omaswa, the executive director of African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), said the population explosion is outstripping the national resource envelope, resulting in diminishing per capita health expenditure.

The biennial National Health Survey showed that the state on average spends $1 (Shs3,700) on each citizen per month.

Uganda relies heavily on donors, particularly the United States, for health sector funding, which compromises local priorities and gives funders unlimited influence, according to insiders.

It is against such background that experts such as Prof Omaswa argue that population control is critical to match resources and to citizens.

"To get that population down, you need primary health care where women can go and get family planning. It is currently difficult. So we need very strong primary health care system that reaches the unmet need for family planning," he said in an interview yesterday.

Prof Omaswa also criticised the recommended 15 per cent National Budget allocation to the health sector.

"It was a mistake. Sometimes you get more money and the percentage is less, sometimes you get less money and the percentage is more," he said.

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