Lukwago urges increase in health budget

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Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has voiced the need for an improved Ugandan health system by urging that the health sector gets a better share of the national budget – at least 15% as per the Abuja Declaration.

Lukwago, who arrived back home from an emergency medical trip in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday, said his stay in hospital hundreds of miles away from home inspired in him a sense of reflection on Uganda’s health system.

On Saturday, he was given the all-clear to leave Nairobi Hospital after nearly two weeks of treatment for acute anaphylaxis, a potentially deadly severe allergic reaction to venom, food or medication.

When doctors told him that he was finally out of danger, Lukwago said he immediately breathed a sigh of relief, knowing all too well that he had clawed out of the jaws of death.

“But my experience also got me thinking: ‘What if this had happened to a lay Ugandan?'” the 50-year-old politician and lawyer told reporters at his home in Uganda’s capital Kampala. He worried for an ordinary Ugandan who has no financial muscle or connections like he does.

He said Uganda should abide by the Abuja Declaration, to which it is a signatory.

In April 2001, the African Union countries met and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector and urged donor countries to scale up support.

In the 2020/21 national budget for Uganda, the health sector was allocated sh2.7 trillion of the sh45 trillion budget, a representation of 6% of the entire cake. Lukwago underlined that the sector deserves more than this.

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