06 Sep 2018

At Lira District Council Hall: GLOFORD, Lira District Officials and Other Stakeholders


By Abet Tonny

A fresh wave of relief as the  HSAP project (Health System Advocacy Partnership project) unites leaders, health care service providers in health centers and local community to improve health system in Lango Sub-region.

This particular post is a sharing of the five (5) months milestone reached in the advocacy for improved staffing levels and work environments for Health workers, increased access, utilization and supply of Family Planning (FP) commodities in public Health facilities at level II and III through HSAP project. Thanks to the dedicated effort by the local people of Lira district, Lira District Health Team and Political Leaders. GLOFORD Uganda’s HSAP project is a 1-year sub-contraction by AMREF HEALTH AFRICA  with a fund worth US $100,000 from the Netherland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs implemented in Lira District. The HSAP project is specially designed to increase demand for Sexual Reproductive Health Services among the locals as a powerful tool to cub the skyrocketing population growth in Uganda, its other objective is to advocate for increased availability of family planning commodities through multi-level advocacy engagements.

GLOFORD Uganda has progressed meaningfully in the HSAP execution resulting to the District leaders, health department and the community in general being organized and engaged with each other. The engagements enabled discussions and sharing of headways, challenges and next steps in trying to deal with bottlenecks identified so as to improve Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) and FP service delivery and Human Resource for Health (HRH) opportunities.

A series of activities have been conducted including, community dialogues in eight (8) locations of lira district and follow up monitoring by the GLOFORD team. A number of District level encounters have taken place where Leaders have interfaced with citizens and made commitments. A number of difficult questions have also been asked to leaders and duty bearers by the locals. These have triggered the leaders to deeply reflect about Family Planning (FP) service provision and some tangible steps have been taken so far.

The concerted efforts by the locals, community leaders, and the District Health Team and health workers under the HSAP project has so far caused multiple change stories. These change stories can be felt and touched by communities where the project is operational.

The Change that can be felt and touched

On 12th June 2018, a team from GLOFORD Uganda and Amref Health Africa held a community hearing at Barr sub-county headquarters. The meeting attracted 72 community members with the Sub-county Chief of Barr, the Chairperson LCIII, and hospital in-charge physically available.  The District Health Officer and a member of the district health team also attended.

A number of issues were discussed. The GLOFORD’s HSAP project officer, Mr. John Ocen, moved the Sub-county Chief and the Health Center in-charge to commit to devote a corner for provision of adolescent and young adult friendly health services at Barr health facility.

On 20th August 2018, a monitoring team from GLOFORD visited Barr HCIII to follow up on this commitment. A facility has been devoted; three (3) health workers have also been trained to offer these adolescent friendly health services at the new devoted facility.

Hundreds of youths and adolescents are anticipated to benefit from this devoted facility linked to a recreation center.

The next was the issue of staffing at Amach Health Center IV has been one of the top areas of advocacy for GLOFORD Uganda. The staffing norm at Amach HCIV stands at 72%. The 72% looks a very good figure to most Ugandans but the translation of the missing 28% can least mean the loss of 30 lives annually from preventable deaths.

It had been close to a year since Dr. Buchan was promoted from Amach Health Center IV to the rank of District Health Officer of Lira district, Amach thence remained understaffed. No one was there any longer to functionalize the theater and give senior medical counsel.

In response to GLOFRD Advocacy: Dr. Orec Isaac was instated at Amach HCIV. Here he inspects the generator meant to power up the health facility equpment and theatre

The advocacy to hasten the recruitment of the senior medical officer topped the interest of GLOFORD Uganda. Multi-level engagements were held with district leaders to see this vacancy filled with immediate effect.

On Thursday 9th August 2018, Dr. Orec Isaac was introduced in Amach HCIV as the senior Medical Officer in the official handover ceremony; he was introduced to different corners of the facility, revealed to the assets and current financial standing of the facility.

Despite the pivotal role that Family Planning(FP) plays in determining the socio-economic welfare of the nation, it has always neither been prioritized nor budgeted for.  Harriet Aboko, the sub-county chief of Amach Sub-county boldly attested to this notion.

Harriet: The sub-county chief of Amac Sub-county in response to GLOFORD advocacy allocated 1million UGX for sensitization of her community on Family Planning

In one of our community dialogues at Amach, the statistics about the worrying population growth rate was presented by official from Lira district health department, the presentation was so moving that the sub-county chief, Harriet, was moved to allocate a sum of 1 million UGX in the current 2018/19 budget of the sub-county to sensitize people on FP.

Other pertinent issues that need be urgently addressed;

  1. The worrying little to no skills to administer and manage the FP commodities and methods by the health center technical staff members. Most of the work on FP is run by NGOs like Marrie Stoppes who have their own staff and are too rigid to share their valuable knowledge with the public health facilities technical staffs.
  2. The dire need to revolutionize the current practice of letting the FP and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services is entirely managed by the NGOs. The government inputs very limited to no support on FP and SRH. This has left the citizens seeking these services to be forced to use incompatible FP methods as the menu to choose from is so narrow.
  3. Can FP pills for men be introduced? It is true that the maximum number of children a woman can bear is 13 on average. But some of the men we have met in communities confessed to be having over 25 children. The men confess that the options for FP to them are very few, i.e. abstinence and vasectomy which most men have found very hard time adopting.