Uganda has one of the worst healthcare records in the world. But the efforts of developing of local facilities and training of volunteers can bring life-saving services to thousands of people mostly in the rural areas.
The healthcare in the deep villages of the country remains deplorable with majority of the population unable to access medical care due to stinking poverty.
A mother’s worry in a village of Nyakishenyi, Ntoroko district will probably be the health of her family
Statistics indicate that despite record investment over the past five years, Uganda’s healthcare performance is still ranked as one of the worst in the world by the World Health Organisation.
The country is ranked 186th out of 191 nations.
A Ugandan’s health and life expectancy is among the lowest across the globe. In Uganda, one in every 200 births ends the mother’s life, around 1 million people are living with HIV and although malaria accounts for 14% of all deaths, less than 10% of children under five are sleeping under insecticide-treated nets.
It is against this backdrop that a Think Tank dubbed The Uganda We Want (TUWW) comprised of the country’s finest brains sat last Saturday during its first conference at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala to diagnose the healthcare- the hindrances, challenges and possible solutions to revamp and uplift the sector.
David Mugisha, an economist who formerly worked with Ministry of Finance in his astute and comprehensive presentation proposed structure of risk pool a measure of generating funds to help boost the heath sector.
He said, “We understand the ministry of Health finally is considering the establishment of insurance schemes similar to a National health service but targeting formal employees initially”
“We need a scheme or schemes that can encourage young and healthy adults in all parts of the country to join risk pools that would cushion the elderly.”
David was optimistic that in creation of these risk pools there should be a merger of the rich and poor to enable the latter a chance to all access health services with his or her limited funds.
“In the Uganda we want, Healthcare Risk financing pools should be those that entice the rich in all corners of the country to join the poor.
We should recommend voluntary creation of those pools at District level with management based at Sub-county level not at national level,” he said.
He again highlighted that, “the pools should be able to receive their usual Government of Uganda allocation including wages.
Employers and employees resident in those sub-counties should choose whether to join formally or to continue with private insurance pools.
There should be a compulsory monthly token deduction from all formal employees to the District/Sub-county based pools.
Donors can come in to be guided by the Ministry of Health on how to equitably or preferably support those pools in dire need of assistance.
Non elected, voluntary officials should be appointed by District and Sub-county councils to oversee those pools for a period of a about 2/3 years.”
“Coverage of services should be within the District where the pool is housed.
Ministry of Health retains the role of policy coordination and overseeing recruitment, training and professionalization of the workforce (human Resource Planning)
A national body for policy for supervision and regulation is justified. That body should be financed directly from the Central Government.
Private schemes should continue to operate.
Regional Referral and National Referral costs and maintenance remain with the central Government.
Affordable Private Health facilities can be involved in these community schemes where possible.” David suggested.