Health Activisits List Key Demands for Politicians Ahead of 2016 Polls


In short
They say that any candidate who does not include these in their manifesto will be de-campaigned by these NGOs because they dont consider the electorates health.

Several non- government organizations involved in health care services across the country have launched a manifesto that spells out what they want the political candidates to include in their manifestos ahead of the 2016 polls. 

The manifesto was compiled by NGOs such as The Aids Support Organisation, Action aid, HEPS and Aids Information Center among others following consultations with voters on their wish list for health sector. The Civil Society Health Manifesto 2016-2021 specifically highlights 10 areas that they want all candidates and political parties to include in their manifestos.

The NGOs have threatened to decampaign candidates who will fail to include the demands in their campaign manifestos saying such candidates don't value the health of their electorate. One of the key demands in the manifesto is the need to scale up per capita health financing from the current levels of USD 10.50 about Shillings 38,000 to the WHO recommended minimum of USD 44 about Shillings 160,000 by 2021.

They also want an increase in the remuneration of health workers and the budget for essential medicines as well as confronting high-level corruption, which they say robs Ugandans of life saving health service delivery. Joshua Wamboga, the Executive Director Uganda Network for AIDS Services-UNASO says they intend to take the manifesto to all political parties in the country and they expect them to express commitment to include the demands in the election manifestos.

He says unlike other manifestos that have been launched during this election period, their manifesto will also be promoted among citizens. He says according to their work plans, they have instituted teams that will move from village to village in all districts educating the masses about the contents of the manifesto.

Wamboga says it will be upon the masses to task the political aspirants about the need to incorporate their demands in their election manifestos. Dr. Hafswa Kasule the Focal Person in charge of Non-Communicable Diseases at WHO says the commitment from politicians before elections gives hope that preventable deaths can be avoided in the country.

She says there is need for politicians to pronounce themselves on certain health issues such as control of tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, unsafe sex, unhealthy diets among others. She says politicians have always made infrastructure development as their point of reference while campaigning and yet the health of the masses has been rated as priority to the population according to studies.

The manifesto also demands doubling of the national budget for ARVs, increased use of male and female condoms and access of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for vulnerable populations. The CSOs also demand that leaders ensure that health facilities have the health workers and lifesaving commodities to confront causes of maternal and neonatal mortality.

Other issues they want politicians to prioritise in their manifestos include opposing discriminatory laws and policies that impede access and undermine the right to health citing the discriminatory provisions in the HIV prevention and Control Act.



About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).