Uganda Clinical Guidelines 2016 and Essential Medicines List for Uganda 2016 Launched

{Photo credit: Sheila Mwebaze}Michelle Lang-Ali, Deputy Director of USAID's Health and HIV/AIDS office; Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health, Uganda; and Birna Trap, Chief of Party, USAID/Uganda Health Supply Chain program, at the launch of the Uganda Clinical Guidelines 2016.Photo credit: Sheila Mwebaze

On September 12, 2017, Uganda’s Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, launched the Uganda Clinical Guidelines (UCG) 2016 and the Essential Medicines and Health Supplies List for Uganda (EMHSLU) 2016. The Ministry of Health (MoH) reviewed and published the guidelines with support from the USAID/Uganda Health Supply Chain program.

The MoH periodically updates the country’s UCG and EMHSLU to provide health professionals with current recommendations on how to best manage the most common health conditions in Uganda.

“The guidelines provide a rational basis for an efficient procurement and supply system that ensures the availability of safe, efficacious, quality medicines and health supplies for all levels of health care,” said Aceng.

Michelle Lang-Ali, Deputy Director of USAID Uganda’s Health and HIV/AIDS office, said that efforts to provide essential medicines and health supplies will be wasted if potential sources of inefficiency, including inappropriate diagnosis, prescribing, and use of medicines, are not addressed.

USAID/Uganda Health Supply Chain program Chief of Party Birna Trap said the guidelines are wonderful tools that, when carefully and consistently used, lead to efficiencies and cost effectiveness in the provision of health care in the country.

The guidelines distill scientific evidence, cost evaluation, and practical considerations to help health workers achieve the best outcome for patients and the most cost-effective use of limited resources. The 2016 UCG and EMHSLU incorporate current recommendations on HIV, TB, and malaria treatment and on integrated community case management for child health and noncommunicable diseases. In updating the tools, the MoH Clinical Services Department obtained input from 32 specialists in different therapeutic areas. Their recommendations were discussed in a four-day meeting with 120 participants from academic institutions, MoH technical programs, the National Drug Authority, World Health Organization, National Medical Stores, health facility staff from different levels of care, and development partners.

After a final round of consultation with MoH programs and district health representatives, the 2016 UCG and EMHSLU were printed and distributed. For the first time, the guidelines were designed based on suggestions from health workers on how to make the presentation and flow of information more user friendly. These important tools will contribute to the improvement of health care in Uganda.