September 8, 2011
A coalition of Civil Society organizations (CSOs)where CEHURD is a member, have demanded parliament to reallocate funds in the 2011-2012 draft budget expected to be passed today afternoon, for recruitment and retention of health workers.
The CSOs have recommended a minimum total of approximately Shs75 billion to cater for the deployment of an additional 5,000 professional health workers and an increase in allowances to motivate them.
This is due to the fact that the increasing shortage of health workers like nurses and midwives at health centres II, III and IV, commonly found in rural areas has greatly contributed to the shoot-up in maternal death rates in Uganda.
According to the press statement read at the conference hosted by Action Group for Health, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS, Uganda (AGHA) on September 8, the Ministry of Health national target for this budget cycle indicates that an additional 5,000 health workers would increase staffing norms from the current 56 per cent to 65 per cent.
The statement further reads, “A report by the Social services committee of parliament recommended an initial reallocation of Shs34 billion and suggested the remaining 41 billion required, to be reallocated from non-essential spending in other sectors’ budgets.”
It however states that recent reports on the discussions of the budget committee indicate that the recommendations of the report may be disregarded, despite the fact that parliament agreed to them.
In reaction to this, the country director, International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Uganda, Mr. Leonard Okello, said, “if the pronouncement of parliament are disregarded in the Appropriations Act of 2011, then Uganda must approve a supplementary budget to correct this needless epidemic of maternal and morbidity.”
He added that, “People are suffering rural women in particular. The time for action is now.”
Mr. Okello requested government to invest in health centers II, III and IV where a bulk of rural women get health assistance, which means that they will be serving majority good and reducing overload in referral hospitals.
He appealed to the President Mr. Yoweri Museveni to respond to the matter by providing supplies, medicine and human resources required by the rural women in payment for voting him back into power since majority of his votes were from these women according to statistics.
The Advocacy and communications manager, Community Health and Information Network (CHAIN), Ms. Dorcas Armoding, said, “This crisis will not be corrected without the nurses, midwives and clinical officers, whose jobs are to save lives.” “Without this reallocation, we are gravely concerned that preventable maternal death rates will continue at a rate of 16 pregnant mothers per day.
The Executive Director, AGHA, Ms Apophia Agiresaasi, expressed her worries on Uganda still having unacceptably high maternal and infant mortality rates, which she says would be improved if there was political will to deliver on the promise of African governments in 2001 to invest at least 15 per cent of their budget in health.”
September 8, 2011