Ugandan Parliamentarians were invited to discuss the current funding gap in the funding of family planning and reproductive health supplies in the financial year 2014/2015 budget. The meeting convened by African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) Uganda and Reproductive Health Uganda attracted stakeholders such as the chairman of the parliamentary finance committee and representatives from the Ministry of Health.
AWLN members in Uganda who advocate for increased budgetary allocations at national and sub-national level to reproductive health and family planning identified the need for evidence as the first step in their advocacy. They commissioned a consultant – Albert Kalangwa – to conduct a budget analysis in collaboration with Reproductive Health Uganda.
The results of the budget analysis were disseminated at a breakfast meeting held at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala on July 24, 2014. The meeting was chaired by AWLN Uganda member and parliamentarian, Honourable Sylvia Ssinabulya. The key findings of the analysis were:
i) the Government has allocated USD 6.9 million to reproductive health commodities;
ii) there is a funding gap of USD2.4 million for procurement, storage and distribution of family planning and reproductive health commodities;
iii) there is no specific budget line for FP and RH services which makes demand generation, budget analysis and tracking and service provision difficult to track.
The meeting came to the conclusion that progress could be made
i) if the funding gap of USD2.4 million was closed;
ii) if a budget line for FP commodities and service provision was created to enable tracking of finances allocated for procurement and distribution of RH and FP ; and
iii) if clearly defined messages for members of parliament focusing on the desired end results (demographic dividend, lower maternal mortality, few adolescent pregnancies) were developed.
Members of Parliament were invited to a follow up lunch meeting to validate these findings and recommendations. It took place at Serena Hotel on July 25, 2014 and was chaired by AWLN Uganda members Dr Hilda Tadria and Hon Ruth Kavuma . Members of parliament requested more feedback from the Ministry of Health on the effectiveness of increased budgetary allocation to health workers, for example. They advised that advocacy for increased government expenditure should be accompanied by favourable advocacy for increased revenue collection.There was shared agreement that the funding gap would best be addressed in the context of the health sector budget. This will require a detailed health sector budget analysis that the consultant, A Kalangwa will undertake. The recommendation that a separate budget line for FP and RH was agreed upon and seen as essential in order to ring fence budget allocations, to ease tracking and to protect the allocation from encroachment when constraints arise elsewhere in the budget.
Future advocacy by AWLN Uganda and RHU will consider proposed messages and the detailed health sector budget analysis.
by A Kalangwa/H Tadria/G Nyambura