Kampala. President Museveni has asked a delegation of investors from the United Kingdom to invest in the health sector to enable Uganda achieve universal health coverage.
The message was contained in the President’s speech that was read for him by Finance State minister Gabriel Ajedra at the opening ceremony of the third UK, East Africa Health Improvement Summit in Kampala.
He told investors that the health sector was “underutilised despite the large base”.
“This Summit will serve two major purposes — first to identify opportunities and foreign investment in the health sector in Uganda across East Africa. Secondly, to share knowledge on cost effective innovations to improve healthcare,” Mr Museveni said.
He also said the two-day summit was in line with the just concluded East Africa Community Heads of State retreat last month. The health financing and development was top on agenda.
Citing the example of a public-private partnership, the President said Cipla-Quality chemicals, which was established through a joint venture has now become a centre of excellence in manufacturing of quality, affordable and newer medicines.
He told the investors that Uganda’s pharmaceutical industry loses $20m (about Shs71.4b) while importing pharmaceutical grade starch and grade sugar, yet the two essential components come from maize and sugar which are locally produced.
Mr Jaffer A Kapasi, who is leading the UK delegation said his team wants to invest in drug manufacturing, infrastructure and medical equipment.
“For many business people, the easiest way to make money is investing in manufacturing medicines but there are other sectors in which they could invest in to help Ugandan people,” Mr Kapasi said
The Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr Diana Atwine, told the investors that government had adopted to leasing as an approach to improving health sector infrastructure such as hospitals.
“There is also need for investment in technology which is used to reach more people in terms of health services,” Dr Atwine said.
She asked investors to donate functional medical equipment as opposed to dumping into the country equipment that will remain unused.
The Summit is running under the theme: “Strengthening Health Investments to improve healthcare.”