Economists Identify Gaps In Utilizing Health Sector Budget

Economist Dr Fred Muhumuza
Economist Dr Fred Muhumuza

Health Economists are concerned that the health sector’s annual budget is not being utilized effectively, thus rendering huge gaps between the actual money remitted and what trickles down to the grassroots.

The Health Sector was allocated 8% of the 2012/2013 national budget.

Basing on these figures, the Economists informed that Uganda assigns 28 USD per person in the health budget, in which the Government provides 12 USD and the rest is sourced from the private sector.

Dr. Fred Muhumuza, an Economist at the Ministry of Finance and Planning explained that this provision was not evenly distributed, yet results in the sector were not better than Ethiopia or Zambia which allocated 10 USD.

In his presentation at the 3rd Annual Health Journalism Convention Dr. Muhumuza singled out misplaced priorities and incomplete projects, as setbacks in achieving positive results in the health sector.

For instance, instead of the current health structure, Muhumuza suggested the use of village health teams to reduce on health costs, as what is currently being practiced in Ethiopia.

Dr. Sam Okuonzi a Health Economist and Member of Parliament, Vuura County agrees with Muhumuza.

He explained that the way in which health care finances are utilized presents a challenge in adopting preventive rather than curative health care. He suggests developing a National Health system, as one such innovation.

On the other hand, Chris Baryomunsi MP Kinkiizi East, Kanungu said policy makers have a critical role to play in health service delivery.
He said although the health sector is underfunded, a very small proportion of the money trickles down to the rural community.

Muhumuza recommended the health sector to device innovations that require less investment in physical structures, but more in service delivery.