The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with the Government of Uganda to improve services within the Public Health Facilities. This is done to create union between efforts of the Central Government and the Local Government in the various districts by making use of the AIDS Service Organisations already serving within those districts. Through this partnership, funding is from the CDC, service delivery is by a Government facility with supervision and technical support from an AIDS Service Organisation.
TASO is offering supervision and technical support to the 54 Public Health Facilities within the Districts of Jinja, Tororo and Manafwa. This support includes; signing Memorandum of Understanding with these districts to clearly state each partner's role, mentorship and technical support in the areas of medical and psychosocial services. It also includes infrastructure improvement, building capacity of human resources, monitoring and evaluation, enhancement of information technology for communication and advocacy.
Over the past 4 years, TASO has seen these public health facilities improve and in some cases come up with innovations that can be replicated elsewhere. One such example is at Merikit Health Centre in Tororo district. This health Center is leading in male involvement in health related matters. It began with encouraging all pregnant women to come with their spouses during the first antenatal check up. With time the culture caught on and now they report a high number of couples coming for health services together. This has enabled more men take interest in their wives health as well as seek for medical services such as HIV testing and child immunisation. A few years ago this was unheard of within the area. Mr. Raymond Ecoru informed the mentoring team that,
|Mr. Raymond Ecoru (in white shirt - Merikit Health Center) interacting with the TASO team lead by Dr. Mugagga (in stripped shirt) the Manager for Health Systems Strengthening in TASO|
“During one of the ANC Health education sessions for those come for the first time, one of the women got so excited after she found out that discordance is possible. She immediately went home and came back with her spouse for HIV Testing.”
Most Public health facilities have benefited from improvement in infrastructure especially in the laboratories and theatres. Their staff have also had skills training, and in some cases more staff have been recruited to support the districts. The districts are also able to report better and have their statistics reported directly into the national electronic Health System database. This is in addition to being supported to implement quality improvement projects within their facilities.
|Dr. David Okumu - District Health Officer for Tororo District|
When this partnership first began, there was a bit of skepticism on both sides on how well they will be able to achieve the project objectives. However, according to the District Health Officer for Tororo Dr. David Okumu, this kind of partnership reduces on duplication of services offered by Government and Non-Governmental Organisations. He says the District has benefited from technical assistant, financial assistance, training in logistics and Data management and can now get weekly reports from the Public health facilities he supervises. He is also quick to point out that through this partnership TASO is also able to learn from the health workers within the facilities. This way both parties are always up to date with the current trends in HIV and AIDS. Dr. Okumu commends TASO for the great partnership especially through the Center Manager and District Health Systems Strengthening focal person and goes on to thank CDC and the Government for initiating such a programme.
As we track progress in getting to zero, all stakeholders should be on the same page. TASO is committed to working with these districts to ensure that they contribute to better HIV service delivery within their communities.