Allocative Inefficiency of General Hospitals in Poor Countries: A Case Study of Uganda
The increasing costs of healthcare arising largely from the growing population and emergence of non-communicable diseases have exerted pressure on healthcare budgets in poor countries. With a funding gap of 7% to realize WHO recommended target of 15 percent of GDP in Uganda, there is a need for hospitals to be efficient in allocation of financial resources in order to provide the required level of healthcare services. Most studies on Uganda have focused on the technical inefficiency of general hospitals and evidence on their allocative inefficiency is limited. Understanding the sources of inefficiency in the allocation of finances in general hospitals in Uganda is important to improve their performance. The purpose of this study was to determine the allocative inefficiency of the general hospitals in Uganda in order to provide a source of misuse of public allocations to a particular general hospital. Panel data from 22 general hospitals for the period 1997-2007 were used. Allocative inefficiency was estimated using Stochastic Frontier Analysis. The findings show that general hospitals are systematically allocatively inefficient in distributing the public funds given to them. The allocative inefficiencies value is high on payments of employee benefits (34.8 percent), followed by the purchase of drugs (29.2%) and lastly, costs on utilities like electricity and water (14.1%). To address the existing allocative inefficiencies, general hospitals in Uganda can improve the process of hiring of labour and management of staff payroll; monitor procurement of drugs, and reduce wastages in the use of utilities.
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