Govt Suspends Funding to 196 Health Facilities

2560 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Health minister Dr Ruth Aceng says that although the health facilities were registered as private not-for-profit, they are actually private for profit and have been benefiting.

The Ministry of Health has suspended primary healthcare funding to 196 health facilities that do not meet the requirements of a not-for-profit private facility.
Government has been supporting private health facilities since 2001 with non-wage and development grants of 2.1 billion shillings annually. The support is intended to cover health service delivery gaps in areas where public health facilities are lacking or the level of existing facility is not effectively providing health care services to the community.
Health minister Dr Ruth Aceng says some of the health facilities do not meet the eligibility criteria as per the provisions of the primary health care grant guidelines. She says that although the health facilities were registered as private not for profit, they are actually private for profit and have been benefiting.
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Some of the affected include health centres Bikone health centre Two in Kasese, Malugulya Health Unit in Kamuli, Burora Health centre Two in Kanungu, Mawagala health centre Two in Iganga, Gulu Independent Hospital in Gulu, and Lazebu health centre Two in Arua among others.
Aceng says that there could be an error that led to the acceptance of the facilities as not for profit.

There were a total of 890 health facilities including hospitals and health centre IV, III and II that were benefitting, but because of the suspension, only 694 will continue getting funding.
Aceng says some of the health facilities are not registered and certified by the National NGO Board as not-for-profit; not accredited by a recognized body and approved by Director General of health services. The minister says some are not strategically located in an area serving the rural population, or being the only service provider in the area, and are not supervised and audited by Government bodies.
The minister notes that some health centres have not reported utilization data to the Ministry of Health for the last two years, have no evidence of involvement in the community and are not licensed by the medical council.
Aceng says the suspension will only be lifted if the facilities meet the criteria after verification. She says this will save government from putting the 2.1 billion to waste.
Acting permanent secretary, Ronald Ssegawa, says the suspension of funding will not affect the community since the health centers have been charging highly, but also because there are other health facilities that members of that community can use.
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About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.