Govt spends Shs236m daily on road accident victims – report – Monitor
A breakdown truck tows away a taxi that plunged into River Namatala on Mbale-Tirinyi Highway on May 4. PHOTO / MUDANGHA KOLYANGHA
By Franklin Draku
The government spends at least Shs236 million daily to treat road crash victims in critical conditions, a new report presented in Parliament indicates.
The report presented by Dr Charles Ayume, the chairperson of the Parliament’s Health Committee, indicates that on average, the cost of treating a critically ill patient (critical level 4) is about Shs3.6m a day. However, it adds that the cost could rise to Shs14m in case of surgery.
According to the report, the cost of treating a moderate patient (level 3) is Shs3.5m daily on average, and with surgical intervention, it could shoot up to Shs13.7m.
The report says while Uganda has a comprehensive and expansive essential package of health services, government financing is lagging.
It says the primary healthcare package is still funded mainly through donors at 42 percent and out-of-pocket payments at 41 percent, creating issues for both sustainability and equity.
According to the report, the total health expenditure as a percentage of GDP is only 1.3 percent against the target of 4 percent.
Data from the Finance ministry indicates that in FY 2020/2021 and FY 2021/2022, the total health expenditure was 1.9 percent and 2.1 percent of GDP, respectively.
While the report says that based on the GDP for FY 2021/2022, the allocation for the health sector for the FY 2022/2023 should have been Shs6.4 trillion, on the contrary, the budget was Shs3.5 trillion, leaving an allocation gap of Shs2.9 trillion.
“These statistics reveal that Uganda still lags in realising the universal healthcare financing targets, thus calling for health financing reforms while considering the limited fiscal space,” the report states.
The police annual road traffic report indicates that between 2019 and 2021, reckless driving caused a combined total of 33,208 crashes, followed by pedestrians with 2,527 crashes.
The report states that data from the regional referral hospitals indicates that 5,986 road crashes were registered in admission in 2019/2020 due to motorcycles, 9,708 entries in 2020/2021, and up to 11,452 admissions in 2021/2022.
“The average monthly admissions of 4,012 for trauma patients represent about 45.8 percent of total regional referral hospital overall admissions. Of the 134 daily admissions in the last financial year 2021/ 2022, 34 patients representing 25 percent are critically ill while 50 patients (37.5 percent) are moderately ill, and 50 patients (37.5 percent) are in mild conditions categorised as the critical level I,” the report states.
Despite the government’s efforts to reduce and control road accidents, the report adds that the levels of vehicle-related accidents and admissions continue to increase every year.
“From our findings, the total admissions the Koboko Municipality MP, due to vehicle causes increased from 8,283 in the financial year 2019/20 20 to 11,517 in the financial year 2021/2022. This, from the police report, is mainly attributed to reckless driving and carelessness by the pedestrians walking on the roads,” Dr Ayume, who is also the Koboko Municipality MP, said.
The study recommends improvement in emergency response, assistance to road crash victims, proper enforcement of the use of helmets for boda bodas and passengers, and strict and regular speed limit enforcement by traffic police officers. The report also proposes heavy fines and punishment for aggressive behaviour, including permanent withdrawal of driving licences for frequent culprits of speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, and reckless driving. “The government should empower the National Road Safety Council to provide proper road safety coordination functions to fully implement laws on road safety, conduct road safety research and assessments, road safety audits and bring together different stakeholders to reduce accidents,” the report recommends.
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