The Health Systems Advisory Partners that include: African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) Amref Health Africa in Uganda and Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS-Uganda) representing Health Action International (HAI) on the 4th April 2017 held an Inauguration meeting of the National Advisory Committee of the Health Systems Advocacy Project at Protea Hotel in Kampala.
The Health Systems Advocacy Project funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs iproject that seeks to contribute towards achieving SRHR through strengthened health systems. In Uganda, this project is being implemented at the national level and at the district level in the six districts of Soroti, Serere, Lira, Dokolo, Kabale and Kisoro. The goal of the project is to enable communities realize their right to the highest attainable sexual reproductive health, crucial for equitable sustainable economic development.
The objectives of the meeting were to: inaugurate the National Advisory Committee (NAC) of the project, disseminate the project base line findings and share the project overview and progress to date. This meeting brought together 100 participants from both the National and district levels that included: Members of parliament, civil society organizations, District Health Officers, the Media; Faith based institutions and local government representatives.
Mr. Denis Kibira, the Executive Director of HEPS-Uganda noted that the HSAP project focuses on the WHO health systems building blocks i.e. Human resources for Health and commodities and he elucidated the role of each partner in the project laid as:
Amref Health Africa, focusing on HRH and reproductive health commodities advocacy
interventions at community, district and national level; ACHEST engaging in HRH and Health systems strengthening and governance through advocacy at national, regional and Global levels; and HAI/HEPS-Uganda will carrying advocacy around reproductive health commodities at national level and capacity building at district and community levels.
Mr. Abenet Leykun Berhanu, the Country Director of Amref Health Africa-Uganda brought to the knowledge of participants that NAC members were identified after consultations with the partners’ country management teams and Ministry of Health. “The Committee will be chaired by Dr. Jesca Nsungwa from MoH and co-chaired by Dr. Jessica Gitta from Makerere University, with other members drawn from UN fraternity, Medicines Transparency Alliance, Faith based Medical Bureaus, representatives of youth and women organizations, and CSOs working on maternal, new born and child health, human rights and human resources for health.”
Mr. Tom Aliti from the Directorate of Planning and Policy representing the Minister of Health while launching the NAC highlighted the government’s efforts to improve the health sector that include; Integration of global standards into national policies, strategies and laws; adoption of the National Health Policy and 2010-2020 Strategic Plan developed in line with the NDP and aligned to the Maputo Protocol, Family Planning Costed Plan and RMNCAH Sharpened Plan for Uganda. He implored the HSAP partners to play their part in contributing towards improving the health of Ugandans.
Dr. Patrick Kadama, while speaking at the inauguration noted that, “There has been space for dialogue without space for descent, but the Health Systems Advocacy Partnership (HSAP) project sets to strengthen descent and dialogue spaces in Uganda.”
Dr. Jesca Nsungwa the Chairperson of the NAC while advised that more focused should be put on the human resources for health issues the project is addressing without diverting to other issues that might emerge.
Strong recommendations were, key among which included: The need to involve all Members of Parliament from the 6 project implementation districts; prioritization of advocacy for full implementation of laws and policies especially at district/national level; and bringing on board the disadvantaged groups like Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) especially women and girls by advocating for access to SRH commodities and other services for them.