By Nathan Okiror, MPH student, MakSPH
Since the beginning of the year 2020, the commonest word being cited on nearly all media channels and platforms across the globe is Corona Virus, probably because of the devastating impact it has had on the human race. Unfortunately, there is hitherto no cure for this deadly virus. Several countries have undertaken drastic measures including enforcing total shut down of the usual booming human activities including travels.
Every storm, however ragging and devastating it might be, eventually comes to an end. What really counts is how we shall be after the storm. In light of all the above, the real question to ask is what should government and the Health ministry in Uganda do after the Covid-19 problem especially given the fact that 42% of our total health expenditure is funded by the developed countries who may re-think their foreign policies and reduce expenditure to developing countries. I therefore propose the following undertakings:
- The government of Uganda should re-think her priorities to have health on its top agenda since this experience has indeed revealed that health is a bed rock for the success and proliferation of almost all the sectors of the economy. This will ensure that the health sector is resilient enough to withstand shocks of this kind or any other epidemic or challenge in the future.
- The Government should refrain from further reducing the health budget. Instead it should continue to ensure that the facilities are equipped to handle cases of COVID-19 and other communicable and non-communicable diseases who may continue to seek care.
- Government should enhance mechanisms of ensuring that it gets value for money. This will require that Government increases the use of strategic purchasing mechanisms that have potential to ensure efficient use of resources in the health sector. It should also step up efforts to fight graft and corruption especially in regard to procurements of equipment and all the essential drugs and commodities. This will go a long way in eliminating delays and financial haemorrhages there by saving funds for the sector.
I will sum this up with some divine calling. There is a biblical scripture in Mathew 7: 24-27 which teaches us about a house built on a rock which was able to withstand heavy rains, floods and strong winds. It stood the taste of time because it was founded on a rock. It’s my sincere hope that our health sector achieves that less cited pillar of universal health coverage - “Health System Resilience.”