Uganda: Our Impact

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.

Busia District in Eastern Uganda has a population of about 250,000 people, 83% of who live in rural villages. HIV prevalence in the district is three times higher than the national prevalence of 6.4%. STAR-E, a project funded by US Agency for International Development and led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), is working in the district’s health facilities and in the community to address these health indicators.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) has been awarded a three-year, $8.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue and expand its efforts to develop sustainable solutions enabling private drug sellers, many of them women, to help more people access essential medicines in Africa.

A FLEP doctor performs family planning services at Kamuli health clinic. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

A performance-based financing (PBF) grant has helped the Kamuli VSC health clinic in Kamuli District, Uganda drastically increase the quantity of family planning services provided to clients. In September 2010, the clinic saw 10 family planning clients per week; now nearly 80 clients receive family planning services each week. Kamuli VSC health clinic is supported by Family Life Education Program (FLEP), a local private sector organization that STRIDES for Family Health has assisted with a PBF contract since September 2010.

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