On Friday, July 26th 2019, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) handed over equipment to Goma Health Centre III and Mukono Health Centre IV. This equipment is to be used at Outpatient Departments of these health centres for purposes of capturing data and screening patients for Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) risk factors. CVD risk factors include conditions like diabetes and hypertension. If not controlled, these conditions can lead to heart attack, chest pain or stroke, among others.

The equipment donated includes a computer desktop to enhance data  capture for CVD risk factors, blood glucose meters, a mechanical weighing scale with a height measuring rod, (10) packs of glucometer, 2 circumference measuring tapes,  and 2 blood pressure machines, for each of the two health centres. The equipment was part of a grant from SPICES (Scaling –up Packages of interventions for cardiovascular diseases prevention in selected sites in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa) Project which is partnering with Makerere University and Ministry of Health to do research in CVDs. The project is funded by the European Union.

Dr. Geofrey Musinguzi (right) showing Dr. Richard Kalamula (2nd left), the In-charge at Goma Health Centre III, how to use a height measuring rod

Handing over the equipment, first at Goma Health Centre III and then at Mukono Health Centre IV, the Project Lead, Dr. Geofrey  Musinguzi said health facilities present a good opportunity to screen for CVD risk factors thereby averting possible consequences. He further noted that screening services at primary healthcare facilities increase detection which is a precursor for prevention and management of CVDs.

“To increase screening, we are equipping health facilities in Mukono and Buikwe districts with screening and diagnostic tools for CVD risk factors. These include stadiometers and weighing scales, glucometers, and strips, desktop computers to improve data capture, tape measures, etc. We have also trained staff to improve their ability to screen and manage common Non Communicable Diseases using Ministry of Health materials. At the community level, we have trained community health workers who conduct home-to-home visits, and do health promotions using motivational interviewing techniques to enhance lifestyle and behaviour change,” Dr. Musinguzi said.

 As part of addressing CVD risk factors, the doctor advised the health workers at these facilities to put to use the equipment provided and to give an opportunity to every patient to be screened for the common CVD risk factor. Dr. Musinguzi added that plans are underway to expand current efforts to benefit more health facilities.


Upon receiving the equipment, the In-charge of Goma Health Centre III, Mr. Richard  Kalamula, thanked SPICES project, European Union, and the Ministry of Health for their willingness to collaborate with local health centers through offering equipment to scan cardiovascular diseases. He explained that Goma Health Center III has been having challenges in capturing data for CVD related cases and the computer provided will improve this aspect at the facility.
‘’With the training on how to use equipment donated today, I expect proper screening of all patients by health workers to reduce cardiovascular-related risks. We shall put to use the equipment and capture the data,’’ added Mr. Kalamula


Dr. Kasirye Geoffrey (left), the Medical Officer of Mukono Health Centre IV looks on as Dr. Musinguzi Geofrey (Centre) trains a Health Worker on data entry at Mukono Health Centre IV

ABOUT SPICES PROJECT

SPICES is an implementation science project funded by the European Commission through Horizon2020 research and innovation action. SPICES officially started on the 1st January 2017 and will run till December 2021. The SPICES Consortium comprises of ( 6) Universities; Makerere University, University of Antwerp, Nottingham Trent University, Manchester University, Brest University, and Limpopo University. The project aim is to implement and evaluate a comprehensive CVD prevention program in five settings: a rural and semi-urban community in a low-income country (Uganda), middle income (South Africa) and vulnerable groups in three high-income countries (Belgium, France and the The United Kingdom)




MAKERERE UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS EMPHASISE THE IMPORTANCE OF TRUST IN BUILDING THE PROPOSED INSURANCE SCHEME

 

Accessing quality healthcare is a challenge for a huge percentage of Ugandans. In this light, the government of Uganda has drafted the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Bill. This bill is intended to facilitate the provision of accessible, affordable acceptable and quality healthcare services to citizens irrespective of their age, economic, health and social status. The bill is also intended to develop health insurance as a complementary mechanism of healthcare financing and ensure efficiency in healthcare services. The bill is in its formative stages and has been a subject of national discussion. It will soon be progressing to the parliamentary debate stage.

 

The Seminar was chaired by Prof. Freddie Sengooba, the Lead Researcher on the SPEED project which is housed at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH).

Dr. Freddie Sengooba (first row, right) chaired a session where the community at Makerere University School of Public Health shared ideas on how the NHIS bill can be structured to cater to the needs of all Ugandans.

 

To contribute to this dialogue, the MakSPH community held a discussion to solicit the ideas of its members with the intention of shaping the various proposals in the bill before it progresses to the parliamentary debate stage. 

Presenting at the dialogue meeting on a topic entitled "The current health financing structure of Uganda,” Chrispus Mayora, a Health Economist with the SPEED Project, and a faculty member of MakSPH, noted that funding for health is below average and more resources were needed if the country was to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goal.

Chrispus Mayora, a Health Economist and a lecturer at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) making a presentation about the National Health Insurance Scheme Bill that will be coming up before Parliament

While the World Health Organisation recommended a per capita public health expenditure of $86, Mr Mayora stated that the current amount in Uganda stands at $52. This implies that a big deficit that needs to be covered from other sources, he added.

"The NHIS is one approach to increase resources into the health sector, but it should not be looked at as the alpha and omega of all health financing challenges in Uganda.
Even with insurance, government must continue to increase funding for health to cater for health systems strengthening, human resources, infrastructure, and other critical investment areas," Mr Mayora explained further. He argued that there is need to leverage on community-based insurance and other SACCOs that already exist within communities to bring as many people on board to embrace NHIS.

In his conclusive remarks, Mayora advised Ministry of Health and all insurance stakeholders to build trust and provide enough information to the public about the scheme and packages being proposed to address unnecessary expectations.

In her presentation, Dr Elizabeth Ekirapa Kiracho stressed the importance of valuing insured persons. Dr Ekirapa is the Head of Department of Health Policy Planning and Management at MakSPH, a Senior lecturer and a Health Economist.

Dr. Elizabeth Ekirapa Kiracho urges government to have a platform where voices of aggrieved clients of the National Health Insurance Scheme can be captured once the bill comes into existence. Dr. Ekirapa is a Health Economist and the Head of Department of Health Policy Planning and Management.

She said, "In insurance, it's important to make people satisfied this will mean having competent managers and a transparent leadership that can settle disputes of clients and service providers.” Citing the current Ghanaian insurance system, Dr Ekirapa proposes the introduction of a toll-free fora where aggrieved and satisfied clients can report their experiences. She also noted that a centralised accreditation of insurance offices may not be able to identity loopholes in local systems like the quality of facilities and of potential insurance service providers. 

Dr Ekirapa therefore recommended the creation of regional and local boards since they are on ground to identify issues like facility quality. She called for appropriate training, sensitization and integrity, when dealing with insurance matters. 

 

Written by Joseph Odoi

On 31 July 2019, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) organised a workshop centred on Community Health Systems in Uganda. The workshop was organized by the SPEED Project that is housed at MakSPH.

Presenting on Community Health Systems and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at Piato Restaurant, Prof Freddie Ssengooba from MakSPH said the current health system in Uganda is designed to respond to epidemics rather preventing them. 

Prof. Freddie Ssengooba, from Makerere University School of Public Health, Director SPEED project making a presentation on Community Health Systems.

"We need to build a system of social protection in which Community Health Workers (CHWs) help control diseases,” said Prof. Ssengooba

Citing a historical initiative in Buganda called "bulungi bwansi" literary meaning “for the good of society”, Prof. Ssengooba emphasized the role of local leadership as an effective avenue in promoting Community Health. In her presentation entitled "Multi-Country Costing of Community Health", Dr. Elizabeth Ekirapa Kiracho, the Chair- Department of Health Policy Planning and Management at MakSPH, pointed out three key areas of facilitation, supervision and training as a very important component when promoting Community Health. "Many people who get involved in community health work have passion, what they need is equipment, refresher training and information on how to handle community Health " noted Dr Ekirapa.

Participants at the Seminar listening as one of them makes a contribution.

WAY FORWARD
 

On the way forward, Prof. Sengooba stressed a multi-cultural approach as a way of promoting good health and wellbeing to prevent diseases. He explained; “We need to orient ourselves by bringing different people on board to understand health concepts if we are to yield results, we need implementers, academia and many more. It's starting point is having an interactive discussion with everyone to understand community health," added Prof Ssengooba.

Present at the high-level discussion was the Commissioner in Charge of Health Promotion at the Health Ministry, Dr. Richard Kabanda. He stressed the need to involve different realms of leadership right from district level to religious and cultural leaders, to promote community. 

SPEED is a consortium of five partners led by the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) in Uganda, in partnership with the
Economic Policy Research Centre( EPRC), National Planning Authority(NPA), Uganda National Health Consumer’s Organisation (UNHCO),Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp, Belgium, and the Human Science Research Council in South Africa. The project endeavours to strengthen capacity for policy analysis, advice and influence at MakSPH and partner institutions and contribute to accelerating progress towards universal health coverage and health systems resilience in Uganda.

 

Written by Joseph Odoi 

Dr. Dennis Carroll, Director USAID - Global Health Security and Development Unit. Image:OHCEA

The One Health approach is an innovative strategy that promotes the multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary application of knowledge and skills to address complex challenges at the human, animal and environmental interphase. One Health is a globally recognized strategy to promote the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines, working locally, nationally and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.

The One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA), Makerere University, cordially invites you to a public lecture on the theme

LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND: TRANSFORMING EDUCATION SYSTEMS USING ONE HEALTH APPROACHES FOR NEXT GENERATION PROFESSIONALS

23rd July 2019, 1:30 - 4:00PM, Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala Uganda

The Public Lecture will be hosted by Professor Barnabas Nawangwe and delivered by renowned One Health thought-leader; Dr. Dennis Carroll, Director USAID - Global Health Security and Development Unit.

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