Factors affecting utilization of health care services in Uganda by 2002/2003.
The government of Uganda set up the Health Policy Review Commission (HPRC) in 1987 which culminated in the development of the current health policy, Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP), to address the ill health in Uganda. The HSSP addressed ill health mainly from the supply approach (improved provision of equipment and human resource). However the approach has not achieved the desired level of health, Uganda like many developing countries still has poor health indices. The purpose of this study is to look at an alternative approach, demand approach, which can be of significant importance in achieving improved health. The approach has entailed an investigation into “Factors Affecting Utilization of Health Care services (HCS) in Uganda by 2002/2003”. In order to achieve that main objective, the study has investigated on the demographic socio-economic, household and geographical factors to establish whether they have an effect on utilization of HCS. Descriptive and multivariate techniques of analysis were adopted to manipulate UNHS, 2002/2003 data collected by UBOS. The key findings of the study show that the infectious diseases were the major cause of sickness in all the four regions, with malaria in the lead. Though the health centers were on average within a distance of four kilometers and treatment was provided free or subsidized, most people sought treatment from clinics where payment for the services was required. The illness mild, health facilities being costly and too far, were the main reasons advanced for not consulting or utilize the available HCS. In the multivariate techniques of data analysis, a multinomial logit regression model was fixed, and showed that sex and age of an individual, residence and education of the household head were decisive in determining the type of HCS an individual opted to utilize. Based on the above findings, the policy makers need to go a step ahead and find out why individuals in Uganda opt to utilize HCS where payment is required instead of utilizing those provided free. There is need to establish whether such occurrence is due to individual perceived concepts or organizational factors or community factors; or a combination of factors. Whatever cause established, appropriate measures should be taken to rectify the problem. The differences observed in utilization of HCS between males and females, the young and elderly, the urban residents and rural and then the less educated and more educated is a clear indication that health is multi-dimension. Therefore if improved health is to be achieved a wider health reform approach need to be undertaken.