Making Things Better in Uganda: Supporting Health Workers and Lending a Hand

Meet Martin Ssendyona, senior medical officer in the Uganda Ministry of Health’s Quality Assurance Department.

Martin’s job brings him into contact with a wide variety of health workers in different settings. “I think we need to be more innovative within the circumstances we are working,” he reflects. “There are many challenges we face, but many of these may not necessarily need additional resources. We need to see how we can involve others, engage the system, and make things better than the way they are now.”

One way Martin tries to make things better is through providing supportive supervision to health workers in remote areas. During one particularly memorable visit, he even lent a hand and got a surprising reward.

“One time we went for supportive supervision in one of the less developed parts of this country,” he recounts, “and a young mother who was almost 18 years old came with an obstructed labor. The health worker who was taking us around had to go and do this operation. I joined in because I worked in a hospital for more than 10 years, and we delivered a live baby. But unfortunately this same mother’s bladder had been pressed so much for a long time, so it was really leaking with urine. We repaired the bladder and put a catheter and put some antibiotics. This mother recovered well and the baby was also alive.” On Martin’s next visit to this health facility, he received a nice surprise. “This baby, who was a baby boy, had been named after me! My name, Martin! So it gave me a lot of satisfaction.”

CapacityPlus’s Crystal Ng interviewed Martin while in Uganda to conduct a training on monitoring and evaluation of human resources for health.

In close collaboration with the IntraHealth-led Uganda Capacity Program, CapacityPlus is advancing health workforce strengthening interventions related to leadership and management, education and training, retention, and the country’s health workforce information system.

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