Transparency International Uganda (TIU) is empowering communities in Northern Uganda to demand for better health service delivery, Oyam and Lira districts are the project implementation area; a total of 6 sub counties were selected out of the 24 sub counties in the two districts. After nearly five years of insurgency in Northern Uganda, health care systems remains under dilapidating situation, with collective rehabilitation programs by civil society organizations to improve livelihood of the people, the project shares this goal of contributing towards improvement of health service delivery in Northern Uganda. The project acknowledges that health service human resource is under staffed, and even the few are always absent from their duties but continues to get pay for what they have not worked for, this practice of absenteeism therefore besides being corruption puts the lives of health users at a risk and violates health rights.
Under the project; there is much effort being put in stopping health workers’ absenteeism so as to improve health service delivery, and this will be greatly achieved in the coming months (starting month of January and February 2012) when TIU deploys toll free call center and free SMS for community empowerment and involvement monitoring and improving health service delivery . Before deploying ICT tools the project underwent the processes mapping stakeholders, creating partnership, mapping health center accessibility, selection of voluntary accountability committee (VAC) members, training voluntary accountability committee members,
The Left Photograph: Patients at Barr Health Center III (Lira district- Northern Uganda).
A young kid seating with her mother as they await to be attended to. It was clear here that the health users do not understand their rights, even if they did, they had no avenue of reporting, demanding and ensuring that delay in health services in their health center is dealt with.
The project will therefore provide them with tool free call center hot line to always report irregularities. The technology will be handled and managed directly by TIU. Telephone calls will be recorded and replayed to generate reports, reports are then shared with partners and government (district health office) to demand for positive changes tailored towards improving health service delivery.
Health center Visit conducted on 06th-12-2011 at Amach Health center IV
It was yet another day of field work, the project officer arrived at Amach health center IV at 9:15am and was welcomed by the security guard, no health worker had yet started working at the Outpatient wing, found 15 patients seated waiting for health service.
By 10:20am there were 78 patients had lined-up, The project officer shared and empowered patients about their health rights and need for better health service delivery; sensitized patients on the need to jointly help Transparency International Uganda to monitor and report late arrival and absenteeism of health workers. Patients could not hide their disappointments on how they felt in delay of accessing health service.
At 10:25am, the health educator Ogwang Ray of Amach health center arrived joined the project officer in sensitizing patients on issues concerning primary health care and stopping health workers absenteeism. The health educator was requested by the project officer to help in stopping late arrival of health workers and also be the voice of patients at the health center. It was at 10:30am that actual process of attending to health needs of patients started by Ogwal Vincent who is the clinical officer.
The success story here is that, Health workers were briefed about the need to stop absenteeism and late coming, work together as a team and improve service delivery. By TIU actively involving health center in-charge and health workers to ensure early reporting and serving the patients, the following day the health center opened early with early commence of patience treatment.