In collaboration with the USAID Uganda Capacity Program led by IntraHealth, CapacityPlus advanced health workforce strengthening efforts related to leadership and management, health worker recruitment and retention, preservice education, and the country’s Human Resources for Health Information System (HRHIS), which is built on the CapacityPlus-supported iHRIS Manage and iHRIS Qualify software.
- Working with the Ministry of Health to address the issue of rural health worker retention, CapacityPlus and the Uganda Capacity Program conducted a study to determine the motivational preferences for doctors, nurses, and laboratory technicians to accept and keep posts in remote areas. The study, involving 158 health workers and 544 students, informed the development of CapacityPlus’s Rapid Retention Survey Toolkit and iHRIS Retain software to determine the cost of retention strategies.
- The two projects collaborated to support HRH data quality and data use training. Uganda is using its HRHIS in most of its 112 districts as well as four health professional councils and 15 regional and national referral hospitals to track over 69,000 health workers and identify vacancies and workforce needs
- The Uganda Capacity Program used the HRHIS data, along with the retention study results and costing data, to support the Ministry of Health’s advocacy efforts, contributing to Parliament’s approval of a $20 million recruitment fund, filling 7,200 health workforce vacancies in 2012-13. The increased availability and more equitable distribution of health workers contributed to significant increases in selected HIV, family planning, and maternal, newborn, and child health indicators.
- The Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council used iHRIS Qualify to increase relicensure compliance from fewer than 100 to more than 2,300 doctors—providing essential information on qualified medical personnel across the country and bolstering the fight against “quacks” pretending to be health care professionals. Uganda Capacity Program combined the iHRIS data with mobile phone technology to create a 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.
- CapacityPlus conducted a training-of-trainers course in HRH professional development for ten trainers who were then supported by the Uganda Capacity Program to implement the program at the district level. CapacityPlus carried out a review of the program that proposes key actions other countries can take to effectively develop and implement such programs. Interviews and focus groups with participants indicated the program influenced them to take action in areas such as absenteeism, performance appraisals, and engaging senior leaders to strengthen health worker recruitment and retention.
- With funding from the USAID Bureau for Africa, CapacityPlus provided assistance to St. Joseph’s Kamuli Midwifery Training School in using the Bottlenecks and Best Buys Approach. Drawing on the findings, the school increased the quality and quantity of tutors and clinical instructors and began offering the first of two diploma-level courses—an upgrading course for certificate-qualified midwives to a Diploma in Midwifery.
- A short video and related stories highlight Uganda’s efforts to strengthen its health workforce in the areas of leadership and management, data for decision-making, and recruitment.
Photo by Trevor Snapp, courtesy of IntraHealth International