‘Focus on Primary Health Care, not infrastructure’- Experts

Proponents for Universal Health Coverage further argue that focus should be placed on Primary Health Care and its affordability as opposed to infrastructure.

Cabinet recently approved the National Health Insurance Bill projecting to get three trillion shillings annually if passed into law. It will require Ugandans to make mandatory contributions and in exchange be given free health care for ailments covered under the minimum health care package

However, according to the World Health Organisation, all people should obtain health services without suffering financial hardship that comes with out of pocket expenditure. But as is, the proposed insurance scheme is attracting a lot of criticism mainly on its affordability.

Government is also going all out on infrastructure with for instance the contentious International Specialized Hospital project in Lubowa estimated to cost 1.4 trillion shillings

However, a group of Public Health think-tanks at a special consultation on Governance for Health in Africa at Speke Resort Munyonyo argues that focus should be on bettering health systems like retaining health workforce and improving quality of and access to health services.

Professor Francis Omaswa the Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health ACHEST and a former Director General Health services at the Ministry of Health emphasizes health as an economic investment.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s World Health Organisation Country representative Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam says Universal Health Coverage is a political choice that requires deliberate efforts to succeed. He argues that a country does not have to be economically but politically ready to implement and attain Universal Health access for all its citizens.

Story by Leah Kahunde Ndung’u
July 16,2019