On 7th February 2018, Family Planning Budget Advocacy Group held a meeting at Imperial Royale Hotel attended by various stakeholders including; National Population Council, Network of African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians Uganda Chapter, Action Group for Health, Naguru Teenage Center, Uganda Women’s Network, Uganda Youth Network, Coalition For Health Promotion and Social Development, Uganda Family Planning Consortium, Ministry of Health, PACE, MarieStopes Uganda, Partners in Population and Development African Region Office, Reproductive Health Uganda and Access Global Ltd among others.
The meeting happened after the release of the Uganda budget frame work paper 2018/2019 by the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development which revealed that the Health sector budget allocation had decreased from 8.3 percent of the national budget allocations in FY 2017/18 to 7.4 percent of the projected national budget allocation in FY 2018/19. An officer representing the Ministry of Health, in his presentation titled “understanding the national health budget and its implication on FP” further informed participants that pharmaceuticals and other supplies budget allocation would decrease from 762 billion Uganda shillings in FY 2017/18 to 515 billion Uganda shillings in FY 2018/19, and that this would in turn affect family planning commodity supply. Commodity forecasts showed a funding gap of $8m towards Family Planning commodities in FY 2017/2018 and this gap is bound to increase if the health budget further drops.
Mr. Patrick Mugwira, Director of Partners in Population and Development – Africa Regional Office expressed concern about the reduction in the pharmaceutical and other supplies budget, highlighting a possibility of a profound setback in family planning achievements and requested the stakeholders to hold talks with the people responsible to find a way of increasing the allocations before the budget is approved by Parliament. The stakeholders thereafter formed a team comprising of Dr. Jotham Musigunzi Director General of National Population Council, Dr. Betty Kyaddodo Director Family Health Department, National Population Council and Mr. Yiga Baker Coordinator of the Uganda Family Planning consortium to spearhead discussions with the Minister of Health.
The members present resolved to petition the Health committee of parliament and seek guidance from members of the Network of African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians (NAWMP) Uganda Chapter who closely work with parliamentarians to discuss the implications of reduction of the health sector budget and advocate for an increase in budget allocation.