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Embrace new health system

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th February 2012 03:45 PM

A new innovation in the health sector has been developed. Gone are the days when you would not know which health worker is giving you a service at your nearby public health facility.

A new innovation in the health sector has been developed. 
Gone are the days when you would not know which health worker is giving you a service at your nearby public health facility. 
 
The Ministry of Health, working closely with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and IntraHealth, have developed the human resources for health information system (HRHIS), a tool that can avail you with reliable information on health workers. 
 
This system will provide accurate data for decision making and efficient systems for information flow and feedback.
The system avails information about health workers in Uganda such as, their duty stations, qualifications, the time they joined the service and their areas of specialty. 
 
This system can be accessed through the internet or your phone. The Ministry of Health has set up a helpdesk to help the public get easy access to this system. Accessing this system requires a password that is got from the ministry’s helpdesk by calling +256 775 824323 or email helpdesk.hris@health.go.ug. This password allows one to access the information from the entire HRHIS database located at hris.health.go.ug. 
 
The system comes at a time when we are grappling with shortage of health workers in the country as most of them are fleeing to nearby countries due to better payment. Unlike the shortage, there is equally inequitable distribution of the available health workers coupled with low productivity. 
 
More than 60% of the few health workers available are concentrated in urban areas serving less than 20% of the population, while over 80% of the population living in the rural areas is served by less than 40% of the available health workers. 
 
Underpinning these health workforce challenges are weak personnel and performance management systems, and inadequate resources to support the health workforce.  
 
So this new system will continuously provide data on available health workers, their distribution and productivity. Previously, it was nearly impossible to quantify and analyse the human resource gaps and develop focused interventions to solve the human resource problems. So this system is a key step in tackling the human resource crisis in the country. 
 
The ministry is, however, working to urgently address this situation to ensure that the sector is effective in meeting the health needs of the population and making adequate progress towards achieving national and international health goals. So the new tool is one of the ways of managing this challenge. 
 
This new system will, in addition, provide reliable complete evidence for health workforce planning, recruitment, deployment, and payroll management. 
 
Currently, the computerised human resources information system databases are operational at the Ministry of Health  headquarters; all the four health professional councils (Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council, Pharmacy Council, and the Allied Health Professionals’ Council).
 
They are also operational at Mulago Hospital, Butabika Hospital and the 13 regional referral hospitals.
The ministry is, in addition, strengthening the regulation of professional conduct among health care providers. Using this new system, the professional councils now have vigorous databases which enable them to determine which health workers are not registered or do not have up to date license to practice. 
 
By tracking and exposing unlicensed illegal practitioners, the professional councils have been able to significantly reduce illegal unlicensed practice. 
 
By use of mobile phone SMS, the clients are now able to find out from the HRIS database if their doctor or dentist is qualified, registered and has up to date license to practice.  This has gone a long way in tracking illegal and quack health workers. 
 
These professional councils have jointly established district supervisory authorities in a number of districts to work on their behalf at the district level to monitor the quality of services being given.
 
I urge you to be a champion in improving health worker management by using the HRHIS data for objective decision making.  
 
The writer is the public relations officer, Ministry of Health
 

Embrace new health system

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