A TB focal person leads a team of health workers to update their TB registers. Photo credit: Nicholas Kirirabwa

Uganda

Uganda has made significant progress to address the health challenges impacting its population. Twenty years ago, life expectancy at birth shrank to 45 years because of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Today, life expectancy in Uganda is 63 years, an achievement made possible by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program’s success in HIV testing and treatment and improvements in child health through interventions aimed at preventing malaria and improving nutritional status.

Nurse Nabirye Moreen provides family planning counseling to a young woman at Nambale Health Centre III in East Central Uganda as part of the RHITES-EC Project. Photo credit: Andrew Katende

Despite this progress, much of Uganda’s population continues to suffer from poor health due to infectious diseases, high rates of maternal and newborn mortality, inadequate access to reproductive health services, and a growing burden of non- communicable diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has taxed the already overburdened health system.

URC – Making a Difference

“URC in Uganda is like an innovations lab using quality improvement as part of its health systems strengthening approach to increase health services delivery to communities across Uganda. The successes – and there have been many – that have resulted from our work, have been systematically escalated and included in national health strategies!”
Dr. Abel Nkolo
Chief of Party, USAID Defeat TB Project

Since the early 1990s, URC has supported the government of Uganda to strengthen its health system and integrate quality improvement (QI) approaches to increase the demand for, access to, and quality of integrated health services.

Current Projects

URC implements two of the five USAID Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services (RHITES) Activities in Uganda – one in the East Central Region (USAID RHITES-EC), and one in in Northern Uganda (USAID RHITES-N, Acholi). Both activities use an integrated health system strengthening approach for primary health care to increase access to and use of quality health services, adoption of healthy behaviors, and strengthen district health systems. Achievements include:

  • Supported the Ministry of Health with developing, leading, and sustaining national QI collaboratives, including the pediatric and adolescent HIV care collaborative;
  • Supported the rapid introduction of COVID-19 vaccinations – particularly with demand creation activities – so that all vaccines were administered prior to expiration; and
  • Used innovative approaches across the continuum of care to improve client-centered quality of care and maximize efficiency of resources.

The five-year USAID Defeat TB Project supports Uganda’s TB Control Program to improve TB case detection and treatment with civil society organizations and key partners. Defeat TB has strengthened the systems and processes for using TB data, knowledge, and research to support Uganda’s leadership, policy, and planning for TB control. The activity has developed and scaled up national TB control QI change packages.

The URC-led Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP) supports the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) HIV/AIDS epidemic control efforts by improving access to and quality of care across 40 military health facilities. DHAPP has supported the accreditation of new ART facilities, increased HIV testing and ART coverage in UPDF facilities, enrolled adolescent girls and young women in care, and increased service reach to orphans and vulnerable children.

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