This assessment and proposal is based on improving access to effective health care for the estimated 1.3 million people living in the Acholi sub-region of Northern Uganda. Stakeholders highlighted inadequate supplies of basic medicines as the greatest problem inhibiting access to effective health care. Public sector providers are active in the region but there is a concern amongst both providers and politicians that the existence of patient fees at these units acts as an access barrier to the poor and vulnerable. It is evident that many providers would like to reduce or eliminate fees but this would not be feasible given their limited financial resources.
It is therefore recommended that DFID Uganda invests in a dual track approach to improving access to health services in the Acholi sub-region. The main objectives of this programme would be to:
(1) Improve the availability of essential medicines in both Government and PNFP health facilities
(2) Enable public sector providers to eliminate fees at the point of delivery, either for the entire population or at least for pregnant women and children.
Yates, R. Assignment Report: Centre for Progressive Health Financing Scoping Mission. Improving the Access of Poor and Vulnerable Communities to Health Services in Northern Uganda. HDRC, UK (2010) 14 pp.