The Speaker of Parliament has called for aggressive health policies geared at preventive rather than curative solutions to reduce on the disease burden.
She also apologised on behalf of the government and Parliament for the budget cuts to the health ministry, saying she is going to steer and advocate for revision and raising of budgetary provisions to health.
Speaking as chief guest at the World Sickle Cell Day at Kamuli, on Monday, Kadaga challenged health workers to improve their services, make them attractive and carry aggressive community outreaches and mobilisation in order to attract the patients to seek health services from qualified personnel.
“It is unfortunate that we painfully reduced instead of increasing on the health budget for which I apologise but trust that Parliament will ensure health gets top priority as we go in for preventive health,” she said.
Kadaga disclosed that in March, while preparing the budget framework, ministry of finance was asked to increase the health budget, but unfortunately it did not come to pass yet it is government’s, responsibility to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by making strategies that improve people’s health.
This time round, Kadaga said she is going to use the strategy of early preparations and debates beginning in September to give enough time for bargain, debate and lobbying.
Kadaga who doubles as the national sickle cell fight champion thanked Bank of Africa for donating a haematology analyser worth Shs35m which she said will help testing of sickle cell in the district. She called for a helping-hand from the government to such institutions so that they can also improve their corporate social responsibility.
The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Acheng emphasised premarital testing for sickle cell.
“Sickle cell takes two parenting partners with the gene, so we are emphasising screening before marriage so that carriers go into marriage with an informed decision,” she said.
She cautioned the public against extortion by herbalists, traditional healers and witchdoctors urging the people to go for regular medical checkups.
Ruth Nankanja the founder of The Sickle Cell Association of Uganda asked the government to consider offering special exams to sufferers.
“We ask government to consider special exams for sicklers who get attacks during exams such that instead of repeating the whole academic year, special exams are provided,” she pleaded.
Nankanja called upon the government to implement the Abuja Declaration which, among other key issues calls members states to allocate of 15 per cent of the national budget to the health sector.