The Ministry of Finance planning and Economic Development (MoFPED), Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) and UNICEF have launched Uganda’s first ever National Social Service Delivery Equity Atlas putting the “Rethinking Public Finance for Children: Monitoring for Results” initiative a notch higher.

The launch took place during a Public Financing for Children (PF4C) Conference held at EPRC conference hall on 26th October 2016.

In a joint press release by EPRC, UNICEF and MoFPED, Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to the treasury said, “This initiative represents a fundamental milestone in our efforts to strengthen government’s current monitoring systems, moving beyond an accountability trail for budgetary resources to a system of tracking service delivery performance and impact.”

The Atlas specifically provides analysis on the impact of public investments on social outcomes like school completion rates; antenatal care visits and improved water source functionality among others.

West Nile Sub-region for example recorded the lowest primary school completion rate of 32.5% while Sebei Sub-region scored 94.3%. The proportion of pregnant women attending at least four antenatal care visits saw Bugisu sub-region trail with 23% while Acholi recorded the highest but below the average turn up of 47%. Functionality of water sources in rural areas saw each sub region scoring above 80%.

The Principal Research Fellow, EPRC, Ibrahim Kasirye, said, “The Atlas disaggregates service delivery and identifies gaps in the critical sectors by region, which together with policy briefs provide direction on where and what effort is required,”
These policy briefs include;

Other heads of agencies present during the launch of the Atlas included; UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda, Aida Girma, who hinted that “Much of the information that has been generated through the Atlas shows that poor outcomes are not necessarily the result of insufficient inputs, but some times the lack of complementary investments in key areas such as social protection or behavior and social change interventions.”

Margaret Kakande, the Head of Budget Monitoring and Analysis Unit, MoFPED rekindled the need for public investment impacts. “In order to meet new community demands, monitoring efforts now need to be slightly re-oriented from purely focusing on the effective delivery of key outputs to the actual impact public investments are having, which this (Atlas) does,” She said.

Noreen Prendiville the UNICEF Deputy Representative in Uganda said the analysis which is visually conveyed in the Atlas gives a clear blue print of where public resources are reducing socioeconomic inequalities among children and improving children’s lives and where they are not.

It is hoped that policy makers at various levels of government can easily understand the visual communication.

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