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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora