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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid