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Health centers operating without budgets-Survey

FILE PHOTO: Health center

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A primary health care performance survey has pinned lower government health centres for operating without budgets.

According to preliminary findings of Primary Health Care Performance National Survey 2019, less than 40% of health centre IIs and 50% of health centre IIIs operate with budgets for running costs across the country. The survey reveals that 59% of health centre IVs and 79% of hospitals have budgets for running costs.

The survey was conducted by Makerere University School of Public Health in 398 health centres of which 57% public, 36% private, 12% hospitals and 26% chemists or drug shops.

Dr Simon Peter Kibira of Makerere University School of Public Health explains that health centres need to operate with work plans and budget to guide on implementation of activities.

However, when health workers were asked how many have budgets, many admitted operating without budgets raising concerns on how they implement activities and account.

Kibira says that budgeting is a requirement to get funding from government and it was surprising for health workers to operate without the budgets.

But Innocent Nkonwa the Luweero District Health Officer disagreed with findings saying it’s impossible to operate a government facility without a work plan and budget.

Nkonwa suspects that the health workers who were interviewed were not aware of the budgets and others feared to open up not to be probed further on how they spend.

Nkonwa, however, admitted that some in- charges don’t share information with other staff and public.

The Nakasongola District Chief Administrative Officer Robert Abenaitwe and Luweero Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Jesca Ndagire were surprised about the findings.

Abenaitwe says that it’s a requirement that to access government funds you must have a budget and should be able to account for them.

Abenaitwe adds that the in- charges are supposed to share budgets with health workers at the facility to avoid accusations that they could be receiving more than they expect.

He promised to follow up the findings within- charges and District Health officer to ensure the guidelines are followed.

Jessica Ndagire, the Deputy Luweero District Chief Administrative officer blamed this on information gap and also vowed to ensure this is addressed.

The survey was conducted by Makerere University School of Public Health with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproduction, Ariadne Labs, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Performance Monitoring for Action-Uganda.

According to Ministry of Health sector grants for 2019/20, the health centre IIs will receive shillings 3.5 million from 2 million whereas health centre IIIs will get shs 10.5 million from 7 million and health centre IVs allocation increased to 26 million shillings from 19 million disbursed last financial years for primary health care.

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