Spending on Health to Grow as Ethiopia Eyes Universal Coverage by 2030

ADDIS ABABA – Ministry of health said budget allocation to health will further increase as Ethiopia marks the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) day with a high-level advocacy event with the call to Leave No One Behind: “Invest in Health Systems for All.”

The objective of the commemoration, the ministry said, is to speak with one voice for universal health coverage in Ethiopia.

The Day was commemorated globally on December 12 as per the 2012 United Nations’ unanimous endorsement of UHC as an essential health priority for international development.

In Ethiopia, the day was marked on Tuesday with a campaign that advocates the importance of Universal Health Coverage and primary health care, and spurs actions from all including policymakers to ensure universal health coverage is accessible to everyone without any financial barriers by 2030.

Initiatives Targets UHC

Each year, more than 800 million people spend over 10% of their income on health care. Such catastrophic health expenditure pushes millions into poverty.

In Africa, more than 4.5 million people are driven into extreme poverty due to health care expenses.

Mindful of this, Ethiopia has introduced health care initiatives and social protection schemes, said its Health Ministry.

“With the effective implementation of the community-based health insurance system, health services have been made accessible to the majority of our community,” said the ministry.

However, it said the coverage needs to be expanded to ensure the benefit of the entire community.

Expenditure to Grow

Ethiopia’s total expenditure on health has increased dramatically from &1.6 billion in 2010/2011 to $3.1 billion in 2016/17, according to the National Health Account (NHA) study.

Expenditure per capita has increased from 21 to 33 USD during the same period while the government’s health budget has increased three-fold since 2010/11,

“The Government has continued to increase budget allocation to health and committed to continue increasing it while we also focus on domestic resource mobilization initiatives and strengthening public financial management to enhance efficiency,” Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health.

Now, the government has integrated universal health coverage as a core objective in Ethiopia’s five-year Health Sector Transformation Plan II, which runs from 2020/21 to 2024/5.

The move emphasizes on improving access to primary health care, the ministry of health said.

‘Call for all’

Health officials also said executing the five-year plan successfully while mitigating the impacts of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges on the realization of UHC needs everyone’s active participation.

Dr. Lia said, in spite of all the challenges, “let’s leave no one behind! Let’s invest in health systems and make essential services available and affordable to all”.

“As we commemorate Universal Health Coverage Day 2021, I call upon all stakeholders for collective efforts to improve equitable access to quality health services for our community when and where they need them, without financial hardship,” she added.

Tuesday’s advocacy event was organized by the Ministry of Health together with other sector ministries, World Health Organization, Save the Children, and the Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Associations (CCRDA).