Makerere University Opens Multi-Billion Policy Initiative

Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) has launched a euro4m (Shs 12.4bn) initiative to strengthen capacity for policy analysis aice and accelerate progress toward universal health coverage and health systems resilience in Uganda.

The initiative is supported by EuropeAid. The initiative, code-named SPEED (Supporting Policy Engagement for Evidence-Based Decision for Universal Health Coverage) is a partnership of four Ugandan institutions,Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium and Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa.

The Uganda partner institutions are: the Economic Policy Research Centre, MakSPH, National Planning Authority and Uganda National Health Consumers Organisation.

Prof Freddie Ssengooba, director of SPEED, says limited capacity for policy analysis at MakSPH and increasing costs of a variety of health technologies in a context of restricted fiscal space for health programmes remain challenges to the attainment of universal health coverage.

“Failures in the health system arise due to failures in other areas such as housing. SPEED, therefore aims to bring all sectors together to engage and influence policymakers to monitor the implementation of vital programmes for the realization of policy goals for universal health coverage,” said Prof Ssengooba during the launch at MakSPH last week.

Under SPEED, a policy implementation barometer will be conducted to provide feedback to policymakers on how policies are being implemented and their performance. Also, courses and trainings will be conducted to address capacity needs of MakSPH in order to enable it provide necessary policy aice, support and influence for decision-making.

In his remarks, Kristian Schmidt, the European Union head of delegation to Uganda, aised policy developers to establish a functional and proactive policy in responding to global and regional epidemics such as Ebola and Marburg and another that deals with export of Uganda’s medical workers abroad.

“Why can’t these doctors and nurses, despite their obvious need here, find a job in Uganda? Are there recruitment bottlenecks to health centers across the country? Under the SPEED project, efforts could be made to improve the application and selection process and this needs careful economic and policy research,” said Schmidt.

His comments come at a time when the governments of Uganda and Trinidad and Tobago have signed a bilateral arrangement for the deployment, transfer and exportation of over 260 public health workers to the latter.

Source : The Observer

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