Government, through the Office of Prime Minister on Friday launched health strategy to ensure equitable health service for refugees.
The policy, ‘Health Sector Integrated Refugee Response Plan 2019-2024 (HSIRRP)’ was based on the theme ‘Universal Health Coverage for All.’
The plan, according to Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, will run for five years and will cost an estimated of $583.4 million (about Shs2.1trillion).
“The plan will integrate the health response for refugees and host communities in districts to ensure equitable access to quality health services, improved health status, harmonious co-existence and mobilise additional health resources to supplement resources provided by government to support and build a resilient health system,” said Rugunda
Rugunda added that key cost drivers of this plan are; medicines and drugs (which will cover host communities and the refugees), human resources and infrastructure.
Uganda hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa and is one of the top refugee-hosting countries worldwide.
By December 2018, Uganda was hosting 1.19 million refugees from neighboring countries; Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Most refugees have been settled among host communities in 30 settlements located across the 12 refugee-hosting districts.
“By including refugees into our National Development Plan, we are championing the principle of ‘leave no one behind’ in line with our commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We prove that hosting refugees is not only the right thing to do but it also promotes the development of refugee hosting areas and the host communities in the long term,” said Rugunda.
Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health asked local and districts leaders from refugee hosting communities to ensure that they copy the plan to avoid controversies.
“All partners should align their operations to the new model and a common plan – Uganda’s Health Sector Integrated Refugee Response Plan. I also want to ask local leaders to develop district level Health sector Integrated refugee response plans aligned to this,”
However, Minister of Refugees Hillary Onek asked government officials to follow up the plan if refuges are to benefit from it.
“Today we are launching the Plan, tomorrow we need to put all our hands together to ensure that the plan is funded. This will require continuous coordinated efforts by all of us. The Government of Uganda, through Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP), is committed to support the implementation of the Plan,”
Onek added that continuous support from our partners -humanitarian and development – will be much needed in order to support the Plan by modernising additional resources and aligning all health activities in refugee hosting districts with the Plan.
United Nations resident coordinator in Uganda, Rosa Malango promised that UN will support Uganda to implement this plan.
“I would like to confirm to that, United Nations is ready to support the successful implementation of this plan and to increase visibility at the global level of this good practice,”
The interventions under the HSIRRP for refugees and host communities follows the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and its Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework who will support Uganda to meet its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages by 2030.