The Determinants of Health Care Demand in Uganda : The Case Study of Lira District, Northern Uganda

"The study investigated the price and non-price factors that affect health care demand in rural Uganda using household data from Lira district in northern Uganda, which is the poorest region. The government had introduced the user-fee scheme as a strategy for supplementing government budgets to improve health care delivery systems. The results suggested that the demand for government health care services was negatively and significantly influenced by the user-fees and drug unavailability. A simulation analysis suggested that an increase in medical charges (user-fees) leads to a fall in demand for government health facilities but increases the demand for both private health facilities and self-medication. Controlling for drugs availability, the demand for government health facilities falls when drugs are not available while demand for private health facilities rises. The policy implication is that government should be able to put resources from things like debt relief to stocking the drugs in public health facilities while the internally generated tax revenues could be utilized to provide free health services especially to the poor. In the long run, the policy option of a social health insurance scheme may be explored."