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Delivering on a gendered definition of health needs in local government budgeting: experiences and concepts
Local governments are granted budgetary power in the Local Governments Act of the Republic of Uganda, which allows for local-level participation and flexibility in the allocation of financial grants channelled annually from central to local governments. The act prescribes a legal mandate to allocate public resources based on local priorities including the health needs of women compared with men. This study investigated the responsiveness of local government budgeting to the health needs of women as compared to men. A qualitative study was conducted in Mpigi district using a set of data collection methods including: a) three (3) focus group discussions with 8 female and 8 male respondents in each group; b) face-to-face interviews with a random sample of 120 households, 75% of which were male-headed and 25% female-headed ; c) key informant interviews with a sample of 10 administrative officers in Mpigi district ; and d) desk-review of the Mpigi district Budget Framework Paper. Health needs consist of the daily requirements, which, arise out of common disease infections and the socioeconomic constraints that affect the well-being of women and men. However, the primary concern of the district health sector is disease control measures, without emphasis on the differing socio-economic interests of women as compared to men. Local government budgeting, therefore, does not reflect the broad community-wide understanding of health needs. Local government budgeting should be informed by a two-fold framework for the gendered definition of health needs. The two-fold framework combines both disease-based health needs and socio-economic needs of women as compared to men.