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Finance Ministry Issues Breakdown of Shs 479bn Health Ministry COVID-19 Response Budget

The Ministry of Finance has released yet another intervention report, showing a detailed breakdown of funds received by the Health Ministry – the lead government agency in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.

The initial report by the Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit (BMAU) of the Finance Ministry had given an impression that the health sector received Shs 2tn but the new version shows the Health Ministry’s budget was Shs 479bn.

By June, the Ministry had received Shs 264bn.

The accountability team from the Finance Ministry reviewed expenditure of Shs 119bn and contracts for the Shs 89bn commitment, which were in the pipeline.

According to the new report which ChimpReports has seen, government supported activities and contracts executed between March to September 2020.

Overall, the budget for the ‘Multi-Sectoral COVID-19 Response’ (March 2020 to June 2021) was Shs 2,221,990,315,936.

By June 30, 2020, a total of Shs 766, 732, 429, 4042 was received and committed towards COVID-19 prevention and response interventions.

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“These funds included Shs 386,608,640,216 already disbursed by the GoU to the various sectors, on-budget support by development partners and contributions from individuals and private sector and individuals was committed. This left a gap of Shs 1,454,961,814,164,” reads the new Finance Ministry report released late November.

“Expenditure commitment were as follows: Approximately 35% on supply chain management, 15% on health infrastructure, 12% on leadership, coordination and stewardship, 10% on community engagement and social protection, 7% on surveillance and laboratory, as well as logistics and operations respectively. The rest was spent on human resource, case management, and risk communication among others.”

The MoH disbursed Shs 270m to 16 Regional Referral Hospitals, while Local Governments also received direct releases from Ministry of Health amounting Shs 165m in response to COVID-19.

Planned Interventions

According to the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan (March 2020 -June 2021), the MoH planned a number of interventions under the following pillars: Leadership, Stewardship, Coordination and Oversight provided to all sector players; Surveillance and Laboratory services provided; Case Management at selected facilities; Strategic Information, Research and Innovation (SIRI) undertaken; Risk Communication and Social Mobilisation (RCSM) undertaken.

Others were: Community Engagement and Social Protection initiatives undertaken; Logistics; Essential Health Services continued in various facilities; Risk and Hardship allowances paid to surveillance teams and drivers, airport staff, Points-of-Entry staff and case management teams in hospitals.

The broad interventions resulted into more specific outputs under the GoU support and the World Bank support which include procurement of ambulances, specialised medical equipment including ICU machines; hiring accommodation hired to quarantine abroad returnees and quarantined suspects and transferring made to RRH treatment centers for case management.

The Ministry of Health also established mobile health facilities at Border Points; procured and distributed personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and non-medical masks procured and distributed; procured blood collection materials for UBTS and test kits; paid allowances and contract staff salaries; and bought spray pumps and megaphones procured.

The Ministry also operationalised the testing laboratory at the Boarder points.

Overall performance

The accountability team said the Health sector registered over 47% recoveries out of the 3,288 confirmed cases by 3rd September, 2020; conducted and released over 395,875 sample results, followed up over 17,888 contacts, procurement and distribution of 13,455,657 masks by 4th August 2020.

The Ministry was credited for sensitising Ugandans on prevention of COVID-19 with support from GoU, private sector and development partners.

“The sector also operationalised testing laboratories at the border points such as Mutukula, Elegu, and Malaba to enhance effectiveness and improve turnaround time,” said the accountability team, adding, “The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) accredited UVRI as the Regional Reference Laboratory for COVID-19.”

The Finance Ministry further said UVRI had undertaken over 200,000 tests by 27 August 2020.

“The sector also established and reactivated with support from the development partners’ effective surveillance system in the fight against the pandemic.”

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