How a New Mobile Directory Is Helping Eliminate Unqualified Health Providers in Uganda

The Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council aims to protect the health of Ugandans by requiring doctors and dentists to register and obtain an annual practicing license. Unfortunately, some of these health workers are not properly registered or do not hold a valid license. Worse, “quacks” are known to pose as medical practitioners and offer health services without the appropriate training. In the latest edition of CapacityPlus Voices, Eliminating Quacks and Improving Health Care in Uganda, the council’s registrar shares how a new mobile directory is helping curtail these practices.

Voices #12The council was already using iHRIS Qualify, open source software that captures registration and licensing information. The Uganda Capacity Program, a USAID-funded project led by IntraHealth International, tailored the software to meet the council’s needs. CapacityPlus develops and releases updates for the software, and assists the Uganda Capacity Program to improve data quality and use.

The Uganda Capacity Program combined iHRIS data with mobile phone technology to create the mobile directory. Using it, anyone can access information on 3,877 doctors and dentists just by sending a text message to the council with “doctor” followed by a name. A message from the council will indicate if the provider is registered, licensed, and has a specialty. Similar information can be determined for more than 3,500 facilities.

Ugandans can now use the mobile directory to ensure they seek health services from qualified health workers at qualified facilities. Moreover, the directory is contributing to more effective deployment of doctors and dentists in the country through specialized recruitment.

The Uganda Capacity Program is creating mobile directories for Uganda’s three other professional health councils, which are also using iHRIS Qualify as part of the national health workforce information system.

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