The Assistant Commissioner for Child Health in the Ministry of Health has urged young people to have fewer children so as to ensure that they are able to pay for their health insurance.
Dr. Jessica Nsungwa says that in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), one of the goals of the government, young people who form majority of the population need to embrace family planning.
“Uganda is now looked at as a production factory of children because of high fertility rates. To achieve Universal Health Coverage(UHC) we must embrace family planning,” said Nsungwa.
She was speaking at the 3rd Public Health Youth Symposium (PHYS) held at the Golf Course Hotel in Kampala as part of the events for the commemoration of the International Universal Health Coverage day.
The symposium was organized by Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) under the theme: Opportunities and Challenges of Achieving Universal Health Coverage in regard to young people’s sexual and reproductive health in Uganda.
Nsungwa says that the ministry’s ambition of achieving universal health coverage is hampered by the high fertility rates among girls that erodes their meagre incomes making them unable to insure their families.
She revealed that one third of the population of adolescents and young people are hesitant to seek health care because they cannot pay for services which also means they will have challenges paying into the National insurance scheme.
“We want to get Universal Health Coverage at 90 percent by 2030. Currently we’re ranked at 44 percent that means 90-44 people are still having hardships in payments, lack access to health services and if they have them they are not of quality,” revealed Nsungwa.
Dr. Nsungwa revealed that the ministry plans to introduce a voucher system and plan to make it appealing especially to young people.
“Many young people who need services are not going for these services because the voucher health access system does not appeal to them. But as the Ministry of Health, we would like to introduce them to our policy table and make policies fun,” Nsungwa said.
Tonny Muzira, the National Coordinator of the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP) urged government to invest more in Primary HealthCare as one of the ways of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“Young people everywhere should have access to quality and affordable health services, by this government needs to increase investment in primary health care and meaningful engagement with decision makers,” said Muzira.
Muzira further stressed that government needs to develop and strengthen monitoring, evaluation mechanisms and information systems on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) by focusing on age and sex disaggregated data collection, analysis and dissemination.