KAMPALA – Members of civil society are disappointed with the Budget Framework Paper for the financial year 2022/2023 saying it fails to address critical areas in the health sector.
The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) is concerned that government continues to neglect crucial areas of the health sector through inadequate resource allocation.
They also note that the largest proportion of the health sector is heavily reliant on donor funding standing at 41 per cent.
The CSBAG members made these observations while meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Health to discuss the Budget Framework Paper on Wednesday, 19 January 2022.
Mariam Akiror, Action against Hunger Advocacy and Communications Coordinator said the government should put in place adequate staffing of nutritionists, water officers and health inspectors.
She said civil society organisations have identified staffing gaps in the sector citing 12 districts around the country that lack district water officers. They add that the current district human resource structure only provides for recruitment of a nutritionist only at a level of a general hospital.
“We call upon the Ministry of Public Service together with the Health Service Commission to create a position of District Food and Nutrition Officer as part of the local government structure,” Akiror added.
The Programme Manager at Partners in Population and Development, Africa Region Office, Patrick Mugirwa said government’s plan to have funding to family planning increased to US$5 million annually has not been implemented.
“The allocation for reproductive health commodities in 2021 was Shs14.7 billion and currently, the proposed allocation is Shs20.6 billion but the problem is that 90 per cent of this goes to mama Kits with very little going to family planning,” he said.
A Mama Kit is a set of materials given to a mother to be utilised during the delivery process. The contents include sterile gloves, surgical blades, gauze, cotton, polyethane papers, ligatures, and baby soap.
Mugirwa called for support from Parliament to make sure that at least 50 per cent of the funding is ring-fenced for family planning.
The Vice-Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Joel Ssebikari commended the civil society for identifying the gaps in staffing and inappropriate utilisation of funding especially as far as family planning is concerned.
“Our eyes have been opened because we did not know the detail of some of these allocations and we promise to look into it with the Ministry of Health,” he added.
UPDF representative, Hon Col. Victoria Nekesa asked the CSOs to make sure that their interventions in the sector are localized and adapted to the traditions and cultures of the country.
“For instance, when you introduce family planning methods, endeavor to partner with the local communities and the government to make sure that the cultures and norms are not abused or undermined,” she said.
Col. Nekesa also applauded the civil society for its work in supporting the government to feel some of the gaps in the health sector.