Ugandan government has revealed that it has a Shillings 515 billion funding shortfall to procure nine million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.
According to the Health Ministry, a total of 21,952,000 million vaccines are expected to arrive in the country between this week and next year. 3,958,000 million of these vaccines are donations from the COVAX facility, India and the People’s Republic of China.
However, the remaining 18 million vaccine doses will be procured from the COVAX facility and the Serum Institute of India.
Government through the Ministry of health has allocated Shillings 582 billion towards procuring the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX facility, which means that while Uganda has ordered vaccines from the Serum Institute of India, no money has been paid.
For all eligible Ugandans to be vaccinated, the country needs 1 trillion Shillings for the procurement of vaccines, transport and other logistics to vaccinate 49.6 per cent of the country’s population aged 18 and above.
However, Prof Freddie Ssengooba, a public health financial analyst says that if the government can vaccinate at least 80 per cent of the population, the remaining 20 per cent would be protected by default.
He notes that government will have to rely on either donations or supplementary budgets to be able to raise the remaining funds. “We have received some donations but these might not be enough to vaccinate everyone. So, we are likely going to depend on getting a supplementary budget to be able to afford to buy other vaccines just as the case for the money we have now,” Ssengooba says.
The Health ministry permanent secretary Dr Diana Atwine however revealed that the government is looking for external funding and that should Uganda fail to get the money from external sources, government will have to look for the money to be able to fund the vaccination project.
On whether the late submission will affect the timelines set for vaccination, Atwine said it was hard to tell.