The White Ribbon Billboard
A White Ribbon Alliance Uganda
Newsletter, April 2015
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THE PEOPLE'S PARLIAMENT: Participants during the National Citizens' Hearing on the Post 2015 Health Agenda. The hearing was a debate held on NTV's People's Parliament show on April 25th 2015.

The Citizens' Hearings are now moving to the global stage

It all started in the districts of Lira and Kabale in March, went to the national level (Kampala) in April and will be crowned at the international stage during the World Health Assembly (Geneva, Switzerland) in May. The Citizens’ Hearings have given citizens a platform and an opportunity to participate in discussions on the Post 2015 health agenda and Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent health, with a focus on accountability.

The National Citizens’ Hearing was a debate on NTV's People’s Parliament show on April 25th 2015, thanks to our partnersWorld Vision Uganda, Action Group for Health Human Rights and HIV/AIDS (AGHA) Uganda and Allied Youth Initiative. A recording of this debate is available here.

Recommendations from the hearings will be presented to the UN Secretary General on May 14th 2015 in New York. White Ribbon Alliance Uganda (WRA-Ug) will be represented by Luyiga Faridah Mwanje at the handover ceremony. The recommendations will also feed into the global Citizens’ Hearing at the World Health Assembly May 18-26 2015 in Geneva Switzerland. 

To read more about the Citizens’ Hearings, go to Follow or tweet about the hearings using hastags #CitizensPost and #Commit2Deliver.

"Health should be at the centre of sustainable development (..) Accountability will be an important part of the new development agenda."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, May 2014"

CSOs petition Speaker over 'exportation' of health workers


Representatives from CSOs in health, health workers, Members of Parliament and the media meet with the Speaker of Parliament. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga (C) on April 8th 2015 at Parliament.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in health petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga asking her to halt the planned export of 283 health workers to Trinidad and Tobago. The CSOs highlighted the repercussions of this move, including, depriving Ugandans of healthcare and will only aggravate the existing health worker crisis among others. The advocates asked the speaker to ensure that Parliament prioritizes motivation of health workers in FY2015/16. Read the press statement here.

Kadaga faulted the government for undertaking such a move without consulting Parliament and added that instead of promoting exportation of our active labour force, Government should send those who are retired.

To tweet about the ‘exportation’ of health workers, use the hashtag #KeepOurMedics. Click here to read one of the articles about this meeting.

Advocating for newborn resuscitation devices

L-R: Radio One talk show host Edmund Kizito with WRA-Ug’s Sam Senfuka, Robina Biteyi and Save the Children’s Patrick Aliganyira during the Spectrum talk show on April 14th 2015.

As part of our advocacy to strengthen the demand and supply systems for procurement of newborn resuscitation devices, WRA-Ug participated in a radio talk show to share its success and challenges. The show focused on the state of newborn health in Uganda, causes of neonatal mortality, helping babies breath and why it’s paramount to invest in newborn resuscitation devices to curb newborn deaths. The panelists informed listeners of the directive from Ministry of Health to National Medical Stores to include newborn resuscitation devices on the procurement list and asked districts to plan for these devices during their budgeting and procurement processes.

Citizens monitor implementation of district commitments

Lira, Kabale and Mityana districts made several commitments to improve maternal and newborn health and below are some achievements.
  • Renovation works of operating theatres at Ogur and Amach health centre IVs kicked off. WRA-Ug members led by Philomena Okello visited Ogur HC IV to monitor progress and also held a meeting with the In-charge, local, leaders and constructors to ensure value for money. Right, in 1st and 2nd photos, Dr Okullo James, In-charge Ogur HC IV explains to WRA-Ug members about the on-going theatre renovations
  • Lira District connected Amach Health Center IV to a generator which now provides light in the maternity unit. See 3rd photo on right. PHOTOS BY DENIS OKWIR- WRA-UG CITIZEN JOURNALIST
  • Fencing of the facility with a wire mesh is also on-going.
  • Staff housing was one of the major challenges identified during the health facility assessment leading to health workers absenteeism from duty. In Mityana, construction of staff houses at Magala, Naama, Kitongo and Kikandwa health centres IIIs is going on. According to a report from the WRA Mityana team, a four-unit house is being constructed at each of the above health centres. At the moment, roofing of houses at Magala, Kitongo and Kikandwa was completed while at Naama HC, construction is at the roofing stage.
  • On April 22nd 2015, Mityana District advertised to recruit a number of health workers to fill the gaps at HC IVs and IIIs. They include; Enrolled Midwives, Anesthetic Officer, Anesthetic Assistant, Theatre Assistant, Laboratory Assistant, Cold Chain Assistant, Enrolled Nurses.
  • In Kabale, the DHO has identified an anesthetic staff to be deployed at Muko HC IV so that the Doctor can start conducting surgeries.
  • The Kabale District Council approved a proposal for the district to provide a top-up motivation allowance for the doctors at HC IVs. This was a fulfilment of a commitment made by members of the district council on 17th October 2014 during a meeting convened by WRA district members to discuss and strategize on the motivation and retention of the newly recruited medical doctors.
  • On April 23rd 2015, WRA-Ug together with the DHO Kabale convened a meeting with District Executive Committee members to harmonize the priorities for investment and sought their support during the discussion and passing of the budget in the District Council. The meeting was chaired by the District Vice Chairperson and members agreed to support the budget.

Meeting with district
health committees

ENGAGING LEADERS: Kanungu District Health Committee members during an advocacy meeting with WRA-Ug members recently.

WRA-Ug under the Saving Lives at Birth project organised four advocacy meetings in Kisoro, Kanungu and Rukungiri with District Health Committee members. The meetings were aimed at discussing and sharing facility action plans for the committee to buy in and to also lobby them to allocate money to key strategic Maternal, Newborn and Child health services and utilities like water, electricity, human resources training and recruitment, drugs and supplies management, equipment, infrastructure repairs and maintenance. The districts adopted the recommendations and increased the budget for some of the above items in the upcoming budget for FY2015/2016.

White Ribbon National
Alliances meet in Kampala

Above, participants from Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, US and UK listen to Lisa Bowen from the WRA Global Secretariat during the planning meeting at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel on April 30th 2015. Right, Lennie Kamwendo presents the Malawi case study. 

White Ribbon Alliance representatives from Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Malawi, India, Pakistan, the US and UK met in Kampala Uganda to share experiences, achievements, challenges and also map a way forward for future advocacy strategies on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health. Participants were happy to learn from the impact case studies of the different alliances and also identified building blocks for the next investment plan. The global alliance agreed on a strategy for the next three years in the Post 2015 health framework.
THE CITIZENS' VOICE: Participants at the National Citizens' Hearing on April 25th 2015 included Members of Parliament, Ministry officials, local government representatives, development partners, religious leaders, CSOs, midwives and other health workers, children, youths and community representatives.
WHO WILL CATCH THE SPEAKER'S EYE? Participants during the National Citizens' Hearing.
THE SITUATION IS APPALLING: Hon. Bayiga Lulume (MP Buikwe South) talks about the impact of health budget cuts on service delivery. 
THE YOUTH PERSPECTIVE: Allied Youth Initiative's Martin Wanzala engages the Speaker during the National Citizens' Hearing on April 25th 2015.
WE NEED TO MOTIVATE MIDWIVES: Mary Gorretti Musoke from the Uganda Private Midwives Association shares the challenges midwives experience in delivering services.
PARTNERS: World Vision's James Kintu (R) and WRA-Ug's Sam Senfuka (L) give closing remarks at the National Citizens' Hearing on April 25th 2015.
PHOTO MOMENT: Youths smile for the camera with the Speaker of the People's Parliament show Agnes Nanduttu (2nd R) after the National Citizens' Hearing at Royal Suites, Bugolobi on April 25th 2015. Watch the entire TV debate here.
Upcoming event
  • Handover of recommendations from Citizens' Hearings to UN Secretary General: May 14th 2015, New York
  • Global Citizens' Dialogue at World Health Assembly: May 21st 2015 Geneva, Switzerland
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