The Effect of Healthcare Expenditure on Maternal Mortality in Uganda
Keywords:Healthcare Expenditure, Maternal Mortality, Universal Health Coverage, Uganda
The maternal mortality rate in Uganda of 189 per 100,000 live births remains above the global target of 70 per 100,000. Evidence shows that the mode of healthcare expenditure impacts the provision of maternal healthcare services and reduction in maternal mortality. Understanding how healthcare expenditure impacts maternal health outcomes in Uganda is important for policy. Data from World Development Indicators for the period 1985-2019 were used to explore the effect of healthcare expenditure on maternal mortality using an auto-regressive distributed lag model. The findings showed that domestic government expenditure targeted on maternal health conditions significantly reduces maternal mortality. An increase in nurses was also associated with significant reductions in maternal mortality; hence, the government should increase investment in training and posting adequate nurses at public health facilities, where the majority of Ugandans seek care. Similarly, out-of-pocket health expenditure and total health expenditure per capita were both associated with a reduction in maternal deaths in the short-run. However, while out-of-pocket health expenditure is associated with a reduction in maternal mortality, it is inequitable. The Uganda National Health Insurance should ensure that financial risk protection for the poor is implemented to move towards universal health coverage.