Uganda’s Vision 2040 identifies human capital development as a key fundamental for development. NDP II emphasized the importance of creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive and creative lives in line with their needs and interests. The plan identified skills development as a means to raise productivity and incomes to enhance competitiveness of the economy. To increase the stock of a skilled and healthy workforce, the human capital development priority areas identified in the NDP II include:
- Improving maternal health in order to increase new born survival with emphasis on reducing both maternal and infant mortality rates
- Mass malaria treatment to gradually eliminate malaria parasites
- Providing early childhood survival and full cognitive development with emphasis on implementing an Early Childhood Development (ECD) center
- Increasing enrolment, retention and completion of the primary schooling cycle, with specific interventions for the girl child
- Massive skills training to equip the labor force with productive skills in order to facilitate the shift from subsistence production to mechanized-commercial production along the value chains.
To develop employable skills and competencies in the labor market, Government has implemented a number of policies aimed at equipping the population with requisite skills to increase the productivity and quality of the labor force. Major emphasis has been placed on Business, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) to skill the population. BTVET institutions have increased from 119 in 2015/16 to 129 institutions in 2016/17 with significant improvement in enrollment from 40,830 students (26,338 males and 14,492 female) in 2015 to 49,654 students (32,796 males and 16,858 female) in 2017
Furthermore, 92% of all parishes have a government aided primary school, while 71% of all sub-counties have a government aided secondary school. Consequently, primary school enrollment significantly increased from 2.6 million children in 1995 to 8.8 million children in 2017. Average years of schooling have more than doubled from 3.4 years in 1995 to 6.1years in 2017. The aggregate impact of all this is an increase in literacy rate (of persons aged 10 years and above) from 70% in FY2012/13 to 74% in 2018/19.
Under Health, the major focus has been on reducing maternal, neonatal and child morbidity and mortality; mass malaria treatment; increasing universal access to family planning services; health infrastructure development; developing a center of excellence in cancer treatment; and designing a National Health Insurance scheme. Over the NDP II period, the newly constructed Specialized Women's and Neonatal Hospital was commissioned to offer world-class maternal and neonatal care to all mothers and babies to reduce the high rates of Maternal and newborn Mortality. The heart and cancer institutes of Mulago hospital have also been expanded and improved to increase access and utilization of health services.
Government has registered significant progress in implementing the above mentioned priorities. Per capita health expenditure has increased from Ugx 49,637 in 2016/17 to Ugx 51,239 in 2017/18. Uganda’s maternal mortality rate has significantly declined from 438 deaths per 100,000 live births to 336 deaths per 100,000 live births between 2011 & 2016; achieving the earlier set NDP-II target of 394 deaths. Facility based fresh still births has also reduced to 9.4 per 1,000 deliveries in 2017/18 from 10.1 in 2016/17.
During the NDP II period, access to safe water in urban areas has significantly improved from 77% in FY2017/18 to 79.1% in FY2018/19, against an NDP-II target of 95% (100% in NWSC towns) by 2020. The commendable improvement is partly attributed to increased intervention by Umbrellas of Water and Sanitation, and larger sector projects with wider geographical and population coverage. The total population served therein has risen by 66% from 8.7 million in 2017/18 to 14.471 million people in 2018/19.
In a bid to reduce vulnerability and promote social protection, Government has continued to prioritize social protection programs for vulnerable persons, with the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) as a key frontline intervention over the medium term. Implemented since 2010, the key program intervention is a universal transfer of UShs 25,000 a month, provided to targeted older persons aged 65 years and above, and 60 in the Karamojong sub-region.
With increased investment in the human capital development thematic area, access to and utilization of health, education services has significantly increased, including increased enrollment for UPE as well as Business, Technical and Vocational Training (BTVET). There is a significant improvement in the number of Rural Growth Centers using improved drinking water sources as well an increase in access to safe drinking water in the urban areas of the country.