African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) convened a half day meeting for the Parliamentary Committee on Health titled; Achieving SDGs in Uganda through UHC: Implications for Parliamentarians on 6th November 2018 at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
The objectives of the meeting were: Call for multisector action in Uganda; Gain a common vision on Universal Health Coverage (UHC); and Commit to integrated, people centered quality health services.
A wide array of presentations were made including: An overview of UHC by Prof. Francis Omaswa: Implementing SDGs in Uganda by Dr. David Okello: Community Health Systems, presented by Dr Peter Eriki: Quality Assurance Health Services presented by Prof. Francis Omaswa; Health Workforce presented by Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde and: Financing SDGs and UHC presented by Dr. Patrick Kadama.
Prof. Francis Omaswa while giving an overview of Universal Health Coverage said, “Treat sick people, but stop people from falling sick. Having better Health Systems is a political choice; we should get health to become a political choice where a country decides how they want the health of their people to be like.”
Health should be a social contract between the government and the people. Prof. Omaswa stressed.
Meanwhile Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde whilst speaking on Health Workforce noted that “Education is a critical factor in the health system. We need to train in order to retain. Learning institutions are like factories and if the factories are not good, bad products will be produced.”
Dr. Patrick Kadama while presenting on Financing SDGs and UHC highlighted the Uganda SDG implementation roadmap that provides priority actions in NDP II in five thematic areas that are; Coordination, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting; planning and mainstreaming; data, communication and popularisation; and resource mobilisation and financing. This therefore flags a need for great caution to avoid unsustainable debt situation in a fragile economy like Uganda.
Dr. Patrick Kadama said; “Investing in people’s health helps increase production and productivity, reduces lost time to ill-health, and reduces mortalities hence allowing increased engagement in the economy, among other benefits. A healthy population is a foundation for increased economic activity and ultimately growth... “
During the discussions, the Members of parliament expressed a great demand for information sharing with a bigger team of parliamentarians. A preference was made for regional level meetings which should be organized in consultation with the Speaker of Parliament.
Dr. Michael Bukenya, the Chair of the Health Committee at parliament thanked ACHEST for the efforts made towards empowering members with information and promised to seek for ways of scaling up the started engagements by seeking the involvement of the Speaker of parliament. He also said there are many development partners like UNICEF with interest in supporting such initiatives as ACHEST remains at the centre of providing technical support.