Uganda: Our Impact

Tanzanian Health Market Innovations awardees in Uganda {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Pharmacies and health care services are not always easily accessible to patients living in developing countries. Many have to walk several miles – if they are able to – just to reach a health care center that can provide them with medicines and treatment.With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) has been working with local governments (starting in Tanzania) since 2002 to improve access to affordable, quality medicines and pharmaceutical services by developing accredited retail drug shops in such underserved areas.

The millions of children orphaned and made vulnerable by the AIDS pandemic face particular challenges, including loss of their primary care givers, increasing poverty and a greater risk of dropping out of school. When the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was launched nearly 10 years ago, interventions were put in place to address the specific needs of orphans and vulnerable children. Over the past decade, research regarding the effectiveness of these strategies has identified successful program interventions and potentially fruitful new directions.

Sam Kafumbirwango and Doreen Nabukenya talking in Bekiina village, Uganda. {Photo credit: MSH}Photo credit: MSH

Doreen Nabukenya, a Ugandan woman living in Bekiina village, had her first child at the age of 17. She couldn't afford the fees to complete school.

Dr. Catherine Mundy.Dr. Catherine Mundy.

Laboratory services are a necessary but sometimes neglected element of a strong health system. From disease control and surveillance to patient diagnosis and care, laboratories are central to public health. Where laboratory services, policies or strategy are lacking, a comprehensive systems approach can improve a nation's infrastructure and capacity to manage and finance laboratory systems.MSH spoke with Dr.

James Tenywa in Uganda. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

James Tenywa, a 43-year-old shop owner living in the eastern region district of Kamuli in Uganda, is the father of ten children and husband to two wives. After his tenth child, James realized how hard it was to provide food, shelter and education for his children and he felt he was having trouble supporting such a large family.He heard people in his village talk about family planning -- including the option of a vasectomy as a method available for men. However, it was rare for men in the village to take part in family planning.

Herbert Kaswa is a Medical Clinical Officer at the Family Life Education Program (FLEP)’s Busoga Diocese clinic. He has been working in the medical field since 2001. The Busoga Diocese clinic was not fully functioning when Herbert started working there. The clinic only offered short-term methods of family planning, such as birth control pills, due to lack of funding and inadequate training of staff. In addition, the clinic did not have the funds or the resources to provide outreach services to people living in remote areas.

 {Photo credit: MSH.}Securing Ugandans' Right to Essential Medicines (Uganda SURE) Chief of Party Birna Trap.Photo credit: MSH.

Securing Ugandans' Right to Essential Medicines (Uganda SURE), a five-year project that began in 2009, expands access to essential medicines and health commodities through reforming and harmonizing the national supply system and building local capacity to manage that system. MSH spoke with Chief of Party Birna Trap about how the USAID-funded program, led by MSH, is addressing pharmaceutical challenges in Uganda. What was the pharmaceutical supply situation in Uganda before SURE began? And what is the situation today?

(New York) Management Sciences for Health (MSH) today announced its $15-million Commitment to Action at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, pledging to scale up sustainable accredited drug seller programs in five African nations by 2015 and bring quality essential medicines to 70 million people in rural communities. The program will also positively impact the lives of thousands of female workers—many of the drug shop dispensers (up to 90 percent in some areas) are women—through creation of new business and employment opportunities.

In the Kamwenge district of western Uganda, men typically do not support family planning, antenatal care, or child immunization activities, making it difficult for women to access these services. The MSH-led STRIDES project, launched in Uganda in 2009 and funded by USAID, has begun working in the local communities of Kamwenge to engage men in supporting family planning and reproductive health as well as child health services.

Two websites supported by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) have increased usage and reach as of March 2011. These tools are important HIV resources for the global health community to help build capacity and share best practices.

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