Uganda’s Health Sector Through Turbulent Politics (1958-2018)


Uganda’s Health Sector Through Turbulent Politics (1958-2018) presents a historical account of some of the key health sector interventions and pioneering personalities in Uganda over the past 60 years. It reveals the intertwined relationship between Uganda’s health sector and the turbulent politics that have bedevilled the country. Nothing meaningfully can be achieved in the modern era, without the provision of good health care for the population and individual health. Indeed, good health is a hallmark of social-economic development.
This book demonstrates that politicians in Uganda have not always been enthusiastic advocates for the health system–as exemplified by Uganda’s independence movements as well as subsequent governments. Furthermore, this book reveals that Uganda’s infant and child mortality rates experienced two depressive curves despite overall improvement over the last 60 years: one in the 1970-1980s during Idi Amin’s rule, which was beset by social and economic disruptions and poor governance; and another in the 1990-2000s, due to the numerous rebellions that broke out. As a result of this political turmoil, Uganda’s successive governments have often expended their budget on politicking and the military, at the expense of investing in social services. Thus, Uganda has suffered from inadequate infrastructure, a shortage of drugs, as well as poor staff remuneration and a crisis in their motivation.

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I feel privileged to contribute a foreword to Prof Anthony Mbonye’s book on Uganda’s Health Sector Through the Turbulent Politics (1958-2018). Prof Mbonye presents a historical account of events that have shaped the health sector in Uganda over the last 60 years, and relates these events to the shifting political landscape. This makes two particularly important contributions.
The first, is to track past events and highlight lessons from which to improve present and future interventions. For example, tracking infant and child mortality rates from 1960 to 2018, clearly shows that Uganda’s health sector has steadily improved. This is likely due to the developments in infrastructure, human resources, the availability of essential drugs, clean water, public health responses to improve sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, as well as malaria control.
The second important contribution of this book is the prominence it gives to some pioneering personalities, their works and innovations – which serves to inspire the efforts of current and future generations. Prof Mbonye further reveals that health and politics are intertwined and thus highlights the necessity for politicians to become powerful advocates of the health sector. We learn an essential lesson that managers of the health sector require experience, the knowledge and most importantly, the skills to manage human resources for better health outcomes.
I commend Prof Anthony Mbonye for presenting Uganda’s health sector in a frank and informative way. It’s my hope that readers, students, researchers, health workers and policymakers, will find this book inspiring.
Dr Ruhakana Rugunda Prime Minister of Uganda

Additional information




Prof Anthony K Mbonye

First Edition

November, 2018


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