News / Africa

Uganda's Parliament Threatens to Block Budget Over Health Funding

A health worker administers immunization to a displaced child at Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro town, 521 kilometers southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala, July 13, 2012.A health worker administers immunization to a displaced child at Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro town, 521 kilometers southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala, July 13, 2012.
x
A health worker administers immunization to a displaced child at Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro town, 521 kilometers southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala, July 13, 2012.
A health worker administers immunization to a displaced child at Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro town, 521 kilometers southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala, July 13, 2012.
Andrew Green
KAMPALA, Uganda — Members of parliament say they will block the passage of Uganda’s budget unless there is a substantial increase in funding for health care. With the budget debate scheduled to open this week, parliamentarians called on the government to do more to address what they say is a health emergency.
 
In Uganda, there are fewer than two health workers for every 1,000 people - a level the World Health Organization defines as a severe shortage.
 
Uganda’s social services committee, which has initial oversight of the country’s health budget, pushed a resolution through parliament last week threatening to hold up approval of the entire budget unless funding to recruit and retain new health workers is increased.
 
Committee members, with support from the Women's Parliamentary Association, called for a specific increase of at least $103 million to the sector.  

Rosemary Nyakikongoro, a parliamentarian and vice chairperson of the association, said that would be enough money to fill more than half of the positions for doctors, nurses and midwives at government health centers.
 
Until the money is forthcoming, she said, parliamentarians are prepared to hold up voting on the budget.
 
“Our health sector is lagging behind, especially in terms of health personnel. We have limited human resources," said Nyakikongoro. "For that matter, as parliament, we are not going to pass this budget - not the health sector budget, but the entire budget - until government recommits itself to increasing the health sector budget by 260 billion shillings [$103 million].”
 
In addition to the funding increase, the parliamentarians are calling for an end to a wage freeze for current employees and a ban on recruiting new health workers. They also are demanding a supplementary pool of money to improve health care in communities that are particularly short staffed.
 
“All members of parliament are concerned, even in their districts where they come from, all health centers have less than 50 percent staffing," said Nyakikongoro. "We all want to see all our health facilities well facilitated in terms of personnel.”
 
Nyakikongoro said government officials from the Ministry of Finance have not responded to the parliamentarians’ resolution.
 
The current draft budget allocates $307.5 million to the health sector - around 7 percent of the total budget. Even before the budget was officially introduced, Ministry of Health officials had acknowledged there would not be enough money to fill health worker gaps.
 
Without more doctors, nurses and midwives, though, activists say the country’s health indicators will continue to deteriorate. They pointed specifically to an increase in Uganda’s HIV prevalence rate from 6.4 percent in 2005 to 7.3 percent last year.
 
Mable Kukunda, a program officer with Uganda National Health Consumers’ Organization, applauded the parliamentarians’ move.

“We think that with the current crisis of health workers that is in the country, we think that is the right move that parliament has done,” said Kukunda.

Following all of the committee reports, the budget is scheduled to move to the entire parliament for debate this week. It is traditionally passed by the middle of September.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid