Global economic crises threatens Uganda's healthcare

By Andualem Sisay

African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) says that the global economic crises could threaten to derail Uganda's national health budgets.

Currently half of Uganda's health budget is funded by the international community. AMREF fears that the ongoing global financial crisis may undermine all progress made in healthcare provision over the past decade in the country.

AMREF, which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and Farm-Africa, is working to improve lives of Katine village in Uganda, funded by donations from Guardian readers and Barclays.

The research organization however says that during the 18 months since the Katine Community Partnership Project began; challenges have emerged.

It says that there is increasingly poor and erratic drug distribution, lack of trained medical staff and equipment and the looming threat of a global recession disrupting progress.

According to AMREF one of the biggest discoveries of the project so far is that helping to build functioning community structures can lead to a tangible improvement in healthcare and access to health services at a local level.

Despite record investment over the past five years, Uganda's healthcare performance is still ranked as one of the worst in the world. The World Health Organization ranks Uganda as the 186th out of 191 nations in terms of health care performance.

Statistics show that in Uganda, one in every 200 births ends the mother's life, around 1 million people are living with HIV and although malaria accounts for 14% of all deaths, less than 10% of children under -five are sleeping under insecticide-treated nets.

AMREF has 50 years' experience in health development. In 1957, three surgeons founded the Flying Doctors Service of East Africa, laying the foundation for what is now one of the continent's leading health development and research organizations.

Today, AMREF implements its projects through country programs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Southern Sudan and South Africa. Training and consulting support are provided to an additional 30 African countries.