NEWS: Kampala, May 17th 2016: THET officially launches new Partnership office in Kampala.

The Honourable Minister for Health, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, will join officials from the UK Department for International Development and THET to officially inaugurate the new office, which aims to provide greater co-ordination and collaboration among UK and Uganda health institutions with the ultimate goal of supporting health workers locally.

 In the past six years, under the Health Partnership Scheme, THET has funded 44 projects in Uganda, of which 24 are currently active. UK and Ugandan health institutions work in-line with the Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines to deliver training programmes for Ugandan health workers. The new Partnership office will co-ordinate this work by promoting exchange of best practices and widening the evidence base for the value of health partnerships with the ultimate goal of increasing their effectiveness, accountability and value for money.

 Funded by THET, the health partnership projects currently running in Uganda aim to tackle the burden of disease in the country, training health workers in a number of areas, such as maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, patient safety, palliative care, eye health and blood donation and transfusion.

 The health workforce in Uganda suffers from multiple challenges. The health worker-to-population ratio of 1.49 core health workers per 1,000 population is far below the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended minimum of 2.3 health workers per 1,000 population (WHO 2013). As the World Health Report 2013 states, this is classified as a ‘severe health worker shortage’. In short, this means that Uganda’s health needs are currently unmet, as highlighted by the Ugandan National Development Plan (2010/11 –2014/15).

The adjusted maternal mortality ratio of 310 per 100.000 (WHO 201O) and the infant mortality rate (69/1,000 live births) are just two examples that highlight how much still needs to be done. Funded by THET, the health partnership projects currently running in Uganda aim to tackle the burden of disease in the country, training health workers in a number of areas, such as maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, patient safety, palliative care, eye health and blood donation and transfusion.

Ben Simms, CEO of THET, said: ‘Given the high number of partnerships currently working in Uganda, it was only natural for us to choose Uganda to launch this pilot project. We want to address the challenges to the health of the Ugandan population, and continue to forge strong bonds between Ugandan and UK health professionals in the fight to improve healthcare for the whole country, including the most vulnerable sections of society, such as those living in poverty or isolated areas.’

 THET representatives will also be meeting with the Uganda UK Health Alliance, which has been set up to support the Ugandan Health Strategy by building workforce capacity through education and training; it is being funded by the DFID and is working closely with THET. UUKHA has seventy-two registered members, representing these links and partnerships. THET has been working closely with the Global Health Exchange which is supporting the Alliance. Together, the two organisations aim to provide in-country logistical and administrative support to the Alliance’s activities.

 Professor Ged Byrne, who co-chairs the UUKHA initiative along with Dr Lukwago Kawuzi Asuman, welcomed the opening of the THET office in Kampala and said: ‘I am delighted to see this much needed development which will promote more effective working between the various health partnerships. I hope that we can use their experience and expertise to accelerate our plans to enhance local capacity through education and training. I am sorry to miss the opening and am looking forward to visiting Kampala soon to ensure that UUKHA and the THET work closely with the Ministry of Health and deliver what is needed to improve the health of the people of Uganda.’ He thanked Dr Asuman for his help in setting up the Alliance, Lord Nigel Crisp for his guidance and DFID and THET for their support.