The Residents of Bugambo demand their MPs to support increased budget allocation for Health

HEPS-Uganda after lobbying MPs and presenting a petition to the Speaker of parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga on the increase of the budgetary allocation for health, it held a press conference in Rugando in Mbarara to amplify the peoples voices. The press conference attended by 40 people in Rugando Mbarara district where HEPS

is currently implementing the HEAR project was held on the 22nd of September 2012 two days before the day of passing of the budget in parliament. Aware of their Rights and Responsibilities, the residents of Rugando came in full force to demand their MPs to support the campaign to lift the ban on recruitment of Health staff that is crippling health service delivery and secondly to increase the budget for Health to 260Bilions. “As HEPS, our research findings show that health centres like Bugamba Health centre IV with 51 approved staff has only 15 in place. Comparing the pay of a Senior Consultant in Uganda and Kenya, a Consultant in Uganda gets 1,965,289 while in Kenya the same gets 4,820,000 net pay.” The problem as we see is low human resource attraction and retention.” Loice Epetiru, the communication and Documentation Officer of HEPS-Uganda said while speaking to the media and the residents of Rugando.

HEPS-Uganda staff and five other CSOs on a three days Participatory Reflection and Action, PRA training

Training and Research Support Centre, TARSC trained its grantees on Participatory Reflection Action in a three days workshop at Central Inn Hotel in Entebbe from 24th -26th September 2012 The training was aimed at equipping facilitators and lead personnel from 5 CSOs in Uganda to plan, implement and monitor health literacy and PRA workshop programmes at district level with a specific focus on Sexual Reproductive and women’s health. The project Health Literacy programme that started in August 2012 with planning will end in June 2013 where the five CSOs: HEPS-Uganda, CEHURD, AGHA, UNHCO, NAPFOPHANU will incorporate the PRA techniques that they learnt into their already existing programs in the respective districts of operation. HEPS-Uganda the coordinator of the training will incorporate the PRA modules into its ACT-Health Project in Bugiri with GOAL, the HEAR project with IDF in Mbarara, the Health Equity project in Mbarara and Sexual Reproductive Health with IPAS in Mbarara.

HEAR Project Success stories

1.  During the health workers training at Lake View in April this year, the Mbarara district Health officer, Dr. Kaguna Amoti raised a concern on health worker absenteeism which was crippling health service delivery in the district. A similar concern was also raised by community leaders (VHTs, LC, religious leaders, women leaders in Bugamba, Mwizi and Ndeija sub counties during HEPS training on health rights. The trained community members in Mwizi Sub County took a step to write a petition to the In-charge of Mwizi HC III and gave copies of this to the sub county chief, DHO, LC III chairman and the area MP.The petition was highlighting the continued absence of the In-charge and other health workers from the health unit and the rude health worker attitude to patients. The community elected a committee to follow up this issue and ensure that the community concerns are addressed. If HEPS had come earlier to our sub county, maybe these health workers would not be taking us for granted. Now that we know our rights, we are going to take them on and see.” A training participant in Mwizi Sub County said. This is a sign that community members once aware of what rightfully belongs to them can demand for them from duty bearers. The report HEPS-Uganda received from the HEPS members was exciting that these days the health workers are now more readily available at the Health Centre’s. Mutambi Rosette, the Executive Director of HEPS-Uganda said.

5.  Ndeija residents demand accountability from in charge

One of the key action areas for the community members who attended HEPS training in Ndeija Sub County was to have a community suggestion box at the HCIII to enable the community members document their complaints and forward them to higher authorities. It was realized later that there was an existing suggestion box whose key had disappeared between the former HUMC chairperson and HC In-charge. With HEPS intervention and discussion, the in charge handed over the key of the box to the newly appointed HUMC chairperson and this excited the participants. The chairperson HUMC promised to frequently open the suggestion box and have the contents reviewed and discussed by his committee during their quarterly review meetings.


HEPS-Uganda’s staff on a five days Organization Capacity Assessment Training

HEPS-Uganda’s staff have been taken through a five days Organisation Capacity Assessment by Goal Uganda as one of the necessary requirements for GOAL-Uganda’s partners. The one week training did not only bond the partnership between HEPS-Uganda and GOAL-Uganda, but it also gave the staff a better insight into what HEPS-Uganda has done in the last 12 years, what it has not done and how best  HEPS-Uganda can execute its objectives in line with the strategic plan and the mission.The participants were involved in a planning process after assessing the contribution of the board and the staff at the secretariat as they plan to rebuild a relationship with the outside world. While closing the training, Ms Rosette Mutambi, the Executive Director of HEPS-Uganda praised GOAL-Uganda for the commendable job done in building the capacity of HEPS-Uganda’s team. “The partnership from May 2012 has been very demanding, we almost gave up especially where the staff had to be involved for longer days over and over again in GOAL work especially when work at HEPS was overwhelming, but with resilience HEPS-Uganda strived on and I now attest that this was worthwhile.


HEPS-Uganda gets student interns:

HEPS Uganda has got two students on internship. The two students from Makerere University, Deogratious Musimenta from the department of Development studies and Sarah Kamuka from the Department of Social Sciences are on a two months period of training to acquire hands on skills to boost their theoretical knowledge. While at HEPS, Musimenta is attached to the Department of Health Policy Advocacy under HIV/AIDS Research Project, mean while Kamuka is attached  to the department of Systems strengthening where they are expected to translate the theoretical skills into practice. The two said their expectations have been partially met and HEPS Uganda team who are cooperative have made this possible.

1. Staff Recruitment
In January, HEPS Uganda recruited six new staff in an effort to position it’s self to implement the new strategic plan. The four of the six; Ms Pelagia Wambi Nziramwoyo, the Program Manager Community Empowerment, Ms Akiror Mariam, Program Officer Research and Monitoring, Ms Loice Epetiru, Program Officer Communications and Documentation and Richard Turyamwesimira, Program Officer Administration and Human Resource are based at the secretariat while the other two: Annet Beinomugisha and Collins Mutambi are field officers based at the Western Region Office in Mbarara. These began work in February and have since reinforced the HEPS administrative structure.

The Health Rights Action (HEAR ) Project launched in Mbarara

In March this year, HEPS Uganda through a baseline validation identified 25 CBOs that it would work with in the five Sub counties of Mbarara district in building their organizational capacity and empowering them on health Rights and Responsibilities in the Health Rights Action (HEAR) Project. This project was launched on the 23rd of March 2012 at the Independence Park in Mbarara and this started with the prior cleaning of Rwebikona market in Mbarara, then the match through Mbarara town on the morning of the launch summed up with the birth of the HEAR project in Mbarara and the official opening of HEPS Mbarara office. This was followed by a series of activities like training of Health workers and health consumers and many more that are yet to come. HEPS will be giving you updates on the HEAR project funded by the Independent Development Fund (IDF) as and when they unfold.

The TB medicines Stop stock out press conference
HEPS-Uganda on the 24th of March organized a stop stock out press conference on the Worlds AIDS Day with other coalition Members to have the government respond and act in response to the TB medicines stock out in the country. The press conference came after a series of media reports by the National Medical Stores trying to refute the facts on Stock out of TB medicines. This was chaired by Denis Kibira the HEPS Uganda’s Medicines advisor who also doubles as the Coordinator, stop stock out campaign.

IP and Access to Medicines Campaign

HEPS Uganda carried out the Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines campaign with series of activities that were organized ranging from the UCEAM workshop for the UCEAM members in Kampala, a Parliamentary Dialogue at Parliament, An IP and Access to Medicines workshop in Mbarara, a media dialogue in Kampala too and a multi stake holders meeting in Kampala. All these were geared towards preparing the key stake holders for the Public Hearing of the bills that are already before the 9th Parliament and rally support so that as the bill gets enacted, some sections in them do not impact negatively on public health in both the current and future states. The key stake holders were reached and enlightened about the bills and their effect on Medicine Access, many promised their support when it’s needed and others gave recommendations like simplifying the messages that HEPS Uganda could adopt to get many more citizens on the side of the bill. Details will be found in the next issue of HEPS Uganda Newsletter.

5. HIV Prophylaxis Advocacy Workshop with discordant couples

As part of a greater goal to promote access to medicines in Uganda, HEPS Uganda organized a half day advocacy workshop for the discordant couples to fine tune what it had written on paper about PrEP. The participants to this meeting were selected based on their active and direct involvement with people at risk. He said this meeting was also intended to urge partners to advocate as one voice in matters regarding PrEP.

6. HEPS Uganda Trains 30 data collectors to assess Accredited Drug Sellers in five districts of Uganda.

HEPS Uganda in collaboration with Management Sciences for Health are undertaking an assessment to identify current needs, experiences, and expectations of selected consumer populations in use of medicines. The aim of the study is to increase community awareness of Accredited Drug sellers’ products and services to encourage consumers to help ensure Accredited Drug Sellers compliance to regulatory requirements and provision of quality products and services. The study that was piloted in Kibaale found out that the communities had detached themselves from ascertaining Accredited Drug Sellers which therefore led to irrational use of medicines, but with community involvement, the result will be great and this is what the study hopes to see and also fill in the gaps.