The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has said the USD 478 million grant from the Global Fund to support HIV, T.B and Malaria programs in Uganda is a great milestone in the quest for improved health service provision in the country.

He said the Government is committed to improving health provision as part of the drive to attaining middle income status by the year 2020.

The Premier made the remarks at the launch of the new Global Fund Grants for 2018 to 2020 organized under the theme “Quest for Improved Health Service Delivery” at hotel Africana in Kampala on Thursday.

The 3-year Global fund grant which amounts to USD 478 million will support HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria programs in Uganda, and will also strengthen health systems in Uganda. The resources will be channeled through the Ministry of Finance and TASO.

Dr. Rugunda appreciated Global fund grant and also thanked other development and implementing Partners such as USAID, DFID, WHO and UNICEF for their financial contributions and technical support to Uganda which has boosted the health sector.

He said the Global Fund grant aimed at supporting HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria programs should be fully utilized and accounted for promptly by the Ministry of Health and Finance.

“I therefore implore the Minister of health and The Aids Support Organization to ensure that the funds are invested in the intended areas and accounted for promptly, so that we not only maintain the good image but also ensure that the Global Fund achieves real value,” Rugunda said.

He said this funding from Global Fund to the Government of Uganda is the highest ever received among the African Countries and is a sign of confidence which our partners have in our country systems.

The Premier called upon the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to ensure that the counterpart funding obligation by government is meet so that the population receives a full package under the programmed medicines and medical supplies under the Global Fund grants.

Rugunda noted that much as the Government of Uganda is committed to fighting against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among those living with HIV.

He said according to a recent survey, it is estimated that about 40,000 Tuberculosis patients have not yet been accessed in terms of diagnosis and treatment thus continuing to transmit the disease.

The Premier also thanked the Partners for availing 8.5 Million dollars to Uganda to partly cater for the Refugees, noting that the Refugee influx in the country exerts pressure on the existing social services.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Achieng thanked Global Fund and other Development Partners in the health sector for enhancing Uganda’s efforts to control diseases, noting that the grants will enable people to get treatment and hence save lives.

“The grants will enable Uganda to manage diseases and also close treatment gaps for the 3 diseases. The Country’s health targets and achievements will also be met thus strengthening the health systems,” Achieng said.

She however noted that there are still funding gaps in the health sector which must be fixed if Uganda is to achieve its health targets.

Dr. Achieng pledged political and technical support on behalf of the ministry of health to ensure that the grants are efficiently and effectively utilized and accounted for.

The Interim Executive Director of Global Fund, Dr. Marijke Wijnroks commended Uganda for its significant fight against HIV/AIDS. She however noted that the treatment of Tuberculosis and Malaria is still a challenge in Uganda.

“Uganda is the 1st African country to significantly reduce HIV prevalence. However, malaria is still a challenge and Tuberculosis prevalence is high. We need to confront challenges in the fight against these diseases leaving no one behind,” Marijke said.

She called for combined efforts in the implementation of the grant programs to achieve results.

The Minister of State for Finance and Planning, David Bahati also thanked Global fund for the Grant, pledging on behalf of Government to ensure proper accountability of the funds.

“The government has put in place monitoring and evaluation systems of the grants to ensure that there is timely implementation of the programs. I assure you that no one will swindle the health funds,” Bahati said.

He also said Government is in the process of increasing the health budget because a health population contributes towards a healthy economy.

The launch was attended by US Ambassador Her Excellency, Deborah Malac who pledged the continued support of United States to Uganda’s health sector, the Permanent Secretary of Health, Dr. Diana Atwine and the Executive Director of TASO, Dr. Micheal Bernard Etukoit among others.

Ends

 Thursday, November 23, 2017

DOREEN NASASIRA