PART I (QUESTIONS FROM THE DISTRICTS)
Qn 1: How do we work with RDCs to improve service delivery?
Ans: RDCs are ever residents in the District. They are primary supervisors of service delivery. They should receive complaints first from the public and try to address them. Where there is need for reinforcement or technical input, or if the problem can be solved by other agents, then the monitoring Unit joins hands with RDCs to solve the problems raised through the relevant authorities.
Qn 2: Who do we contact in case of problems that need to be reported and how?
Ans: The Monitoring Unit has got different channels of communication. These are;
|A toll free number:||0800100447|
|Free SMS line:||8200|
Qn 3: How do we monitor the drugs that NMS has delivered? How do we verify whether NMS has delivered according to the money allocated for the drugs? How do we know the cost of medicines?
Ans: Money that is allocated to medicines per health unit at NMS is known and available for monitoring. Every time medicines are supplied, the invoice is sent together with medicines delivered. So funds spent on medicines can be cumulatively audited to ensure that medicines supplied are equivalent to money spent.
Qn 4: Why does government take long to recruit health workers in case some die or retire? Is there always a ban on recruitment?
Ans: There is no infinite ban on recruitment. The laxity has been at local government to follow up with public service to ensure that replacement of health workers is done in time. It has also been noted that generally the payroll management system had many gaps and government continues to pay people who have left or those who died.
This is however being addressed through improved Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) and Accounting Officers are being held accountable for workers under their jurisdiction.
Qn 5: How can non-technical people like local leaders monitor health services?
Ans: The Monitoring Unit made a check list that looks at specific areas that require monitoring. The check list is supplied to RDCs for use during monitoring.
Qn 6: There are many government centres that were built and completed and even staff posted there, but these centres are not receiving medicines from NMS. Why is this so?
Ans: For any health centre to receive medicines from NMS it must be accredited/acknowledged by Ministry of Health.
Yes, many centres are completed however, Ministry of health may not be aware that they exist.
Further, even when MoH acknowledges their existence, if it is in the middle of the financial year, (and no budget was allocated to them for that financial year) there is no way medicines can be supplied without any allocated funds for it.
The procedure is that any new facilities must be acknowledged by the Ministry of Health, which then approves the newly constructed centre, budgets for it, and there after a communication is sent to National Medical Stores for the centres to receive medicines.
Qn 7: The public is concerned with continued charges levied on many services especially Ultra sound scan and x-ray/laboratory services. What is your comment on this?
Ans: The government policy is clear on user fees. All services are free except in designated areas called private wings. These are more in regional hospitals and bigger hospitals. Lower units do not have these services. Therefore all services including x-rays, ultra sound deliveries, and surgery are free. Any charge levied on the public for these services is illegal and must not be accepted. Those that are doing it must be warned and reprimanded. Local leaders must lead the campaigns against this vice.
Qn 8: Government has built many staff houses in many health facilities however, senior clinicians do not stay in them. They have left the houses to low cadre staff. Is this acceptable?
Ans: The purpose of having houses for staff at the health centres is to enable the clinicians be accessible at all times so that patients receive the services at all times. Where abandonment of houses by clinicians is rampant, there is poor service delivery.
The leaders must ensure that there is optimization of resources and the houses are fully used by those that are expected to provide services to the public. With close supervision by leaders, this should not happen.
Qn 9: Why have we left health training institutions to be supervised by Ministry of Education yet it lacks technical knowledge of the standards?
Ans: This is a policy and it can only change if government changes Ministry of Education as custodian of all training however, the relevant professional Councils are expected to set standards for training and to have regular supervision. Regulation for licensing and accreditation is supposed to be regularly revised to match the changing times and technological changes. The over lapping responsibilities have also contributed some gaps but this has been raised to Ministries concerned to streamline supervision and ensure higher standards in training health institutions.
Qn 10: Why do health centres (especially lower ones) close on weekends? Is this policy of government that people do not seek treatment on weekends?
Ans: Every health facility in the country is operational at all times including the weekends. The individual health centres that do not open over the weekend must be investigated and local leaders must establish the cause and address it expeditiously.
PART II (QUESTIONS FROM THE MEDIA)
Qn 11: Where can I report a health related crime?
Ans: Report all health related issues to HMU'S Toll Free Line: 0800100447, any nearby Uganda police post or send a freeSMStomTrac SMS Hotline: 8200.
You can also reach us at www.hmu.go.ug
Qn 12: How can one identify government of Uganda medicines?
Ans: Uganda governmentmedicines are embossed with “UG NOT FOR SALE”
Qn 13: What time should government health facilities open countrywide?
Ans: All government lower health facilities (HC IIs, HC IIIs) should open by 8: 00AM and close at 5: 00 pm but, midwives should stay nearby to receive any pregnant mothers in distress.
All other upper government health facilities (from HCIV, District hospitals, Regional and National Referrals should remain open throughout the year, be it on weekends or holidays.
Qn 14: What time should health workers report to their duty stations?
Ans: All civil servants are supposed to report to work at 8: 00 AM and leave by 5: 00 PM except for those working in shifts in the upper health facilities like HC IVs, and Hospitals.
Qn 15: Does the HMU work with other stake holders to improve health services in the country?
Ans: HMU works with Ministries of Health, Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Internal Affairs (UPF) and otherstake holders like UNICEF, WHO, etc.
Qn 16: Do community members need to take ownership of health services in their community? To what extent can community members police health services within their communities?
Ans: Yes, community members do need to take ownership of the health services within their communities by reporting Health workers’ abuse, medicine theft, and other issues to the HMU'S toll free line: 0800100447 and any nearby Uganda Police station.
Qn 17: Are patients supposed to pay for Ambulances when referred to the regional or National Referral Hospitals?
Ans: Sometimes the lower Health facilities lack enough funds to pay for fuel for the Ambulance so they request patients who can afford to pay a certain fee for the ambulance.
Further, for some patients who are critical, the hospital should improvise and make sure the critical patient gets to the regional referral or the national referral hospital and this may require mobilising of some funds to facilitate this especially if the health facility is in deficit of these funds.
However, where ambulances are readily available and a health facility has the required funds to facilitate the ambulances, patients are not supposed to pay for the ambulances.
Qn 18: Does government have a mechanism set at Districts to monitor health services?
Ans: Yes, government has set a mechanism at each district to monitor government services through the office of the Resident District Commissioner, and the District health team which involves the District Health Officer and his team.