Managing Systems: Improving Use of Resources to Effectively Fight AIDS in Uganda

In many developing countries, high HIV rates are over-burdening already fragile health systems. As these health sectors struggle to provide basic health services, they must now also make HIV/AIDS prevention, services, and care available. To contain the spread and minimize the impact of HIV/AIDS, several global initiatives are making large amounts of financial and medical resources available. However, without efficient health systems, their impact will be limited.

In Uganda, new institutional arrangements such as the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM); the World Bank Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program for the Africa Region; and the U.S. Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief are providing much needed resources for scaling up the national HIV/AIDS response. National coordination and involvement of all sectors is crucial to ensure that resources are used efficiently. The Uganda government and partner institutions are in dire need of technical assistance to be able to effectively absorb and manage these large sums of money. This is critical to enable rapid national scale-up of programs for which the funds are destined. MSH's Management & Leadership Program (M&L) is providing technical assistance in many areas to support this scale up.

To strengthen government capacity to manage and implement new programs, MSH is assisting the Ministry of Health to better plan and monitor the implementation of the National Strategy on HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria, helping to fill strategic gaps, and enabling effective scale-up. As an important bridge to preparing the next five-year National Strategic Framework, the M&L Program is also working closely with the Uganda AIDS Commission to strengthen their capacity to oversee and coordinate national HIV/AIDS monitoring and evaluation activities. M&L is working with local partners to develop and disseminate an abridged version of the National Strategic Framework and developing leadership capacity of key staff at government levels. These efforts contribute to a decentralized response and help mainstream district level HIV/AIDS programs. The M&L Program is also supporting the Inter Religious Council of Uganda and its Religious Coordinating Boards to define leadership and management roles and responsibilities and develop their capacity to lead, grant, monitor and evaluate HIV/AIDS activities among faith-based organizations.

Improving leadership and management capacity of these institutions contributes to Uganda's needed support across all sectors to ensure the country's comprehensive response—key to its success thus far. By managing resources more effectively, Uganda's national health system is primed to further scale-up all government, non-governmental, and faith-based initiatives to more effectively fight the AIDS epidemic.