Bringing Partners Together to Address Uganda’s Health Workforce Challenge

What’s the single most important component of any health system? According to Uganda’s Minister of Health Dr. Stephen Mallinga, the answer is health workers.

At a high-level stakeholder workshop to build consensus for improving health workforce staffing, Dr. Mallinga described health workers’ central role in the health system. They are vital for delivering quality services, yet the country struggles to put enough health workers in place to meet the population’s health care needs. The proportion of approved positions filled by health workers is only 56%, Dr. Mallinga said, which is inadequate to deliver the minimum health care package.

Elise Ayers and journalistsBuilding consensus to address the health workforce challenge
“Working Together to Improve Human Resources for Health” took place in Entebbe, Uganda, on September 24. The Uganda Capacity Program, led by IntraHealth International, collaborated on this event with the Ministry of Health, supported by members of Parliament, USAID, and partner institutions.

The Uganda Capacity Program builds on the success of the USAID-funded Capacity Project, which preceded CapacityPlus.

CapacityPlus has also been supporting efforts to strengthen Uganda’s health workforce through field-testing of an innovative rapid retention survey tool.

Involving political leaders
The workshop focused on the role of political leaders. Dr. Mallinga emphasized that political leaders are key stakeholders in improving human resources for health and the entire health care process in the country.

Parliamentarians can champion the cause for addressing Uganda’s health workforce challenge, said Elise Ayers, USAID team leader for health, HIV/AIDS, and education.

Strengthening partnerships for the health workforce
The Uganda Capacity Program builds the capacity of Ugandan institutions to plan for the health workforce, focus on health workers’ education and training, and strengthen health workforce management and support. Partnering with key stakeholders is one of the program’s strategies.

At the workshop, participants reached a consensus on working together to address the country’s health workforce challenge. A forthcoming report will articulate the agreed-upon actions and the way forward.


Photo: Courtesy of Winnie Lubega. (Elise Ayers answers journalists' questions on HRH issues)