THET’s new Ugandan Country Manager reflects on the potential of the new country office.
Paul Ahura started working at THET in 2014 as Somaliland Programme Manager. When, in May 2016, we opened THET’s Partnership Office in Uganda, Paul moved back to his country of origin to work as Country Manager in the new facility. The Office aims to promote learning and exchange of best practice across health partnerships to increase their effectiveness and value for money. Two months into his new role, Paul describes the challenges and ambitions of his work.
Paul Ahura: I worked in humanitarian programmes for different organisations, such as World Vision, UNDP and Marie Stopes, and finally joined THET in 2014. Working is Somaliland has been the most challenging and at the same time rewarding experience of my life. Regular activities such as programme implementation, accurate budget dispensation and securing operation might be significantly complex in a fragile state.
Q: Can you talk about healthcare services in Uganda, what are the main challenges?
PA: Along with education and agriculture, the health sector is one of the main priorities for the Ugandan government today. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in recent years the country has steadily increased funds to improve the health of the Uganda population. However, the health budget is still under 10%, less than the 15% agreed in the Abuja Declaration signed by the African Union countries in 2001. In numbers, this means that the current US$ 27 per capita per annum expenditure for health care is far below the recommended US$ 44. Significant progress has been achieved in areas such as maternal and infant mortality, but there is still much to do.
Q: What motivated the opening of this new Partnership office?
PA: The government has limited capacity, so the new office will provide better coordination of project work while prioritising the needs identified by the local government. Health partnerships are already addressing a number of health issues in areas such as maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, non-communicable diseases, mental health and patient safety. So the office will provide better coordination, increased peer to peer learning opportunities and promote national level aid effectives. The new country office would be able to considerably contribute to these aims as well as establish THET as a key partner in global health.
If you are currently working in Uganda and want to connect to this office, please contact Mr. Paul Ahura, Uganda Country Manager: Paul.Ahura@thet.org
 WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, The World Bank, and the United Nations Population Division. Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2015. Maternal mortality ratio has declined from 408/100,000 live births in 2011 to 343/100,000 live births in 2015. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.MMRT
 Infant mortality in Uganda has declined from46/1,000 live births in 2011 to 28/1,000 live births in 2011. Source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.IMRT.IN