Study Tour: Combating NCDs with Limited Resources

By: Christine Sow, Global Health Council
Cross-posted from the Global Health Council Blog

GHC Executive Director Christine Sow accompanied US Senate staffers to Uganda and Rwanda on a study tour organized by the Livestrong Foundation and Management Sciences for Health. We will be featuring blogs and pictures from Christine on the tour on the blog – read on to hear about the trip, NCDs, and global health challenges.

Hospital in Mulago. Photo credit: Sally Canfield.

Hospital in Mulago. Photo credit: Sally Canfield.

We visited a sub-district health referral center as well as Mulago hospital, the largest hospital in Uganda. The scale of services provided was vastly different across the two facilities – the referral center offered mostly primary care services along with some basic tertiary care while Mulago Hosptial offers a wide range of complex tertiary care to a patient population of more than 5,000. However the two have several important commonalities – both are under-staffed, over-used and lacking in the basic supplies and equipment necessary to allow staff to properly do their jobs. The referral center had little or no capacity at the current time to integrate NCD prevention, screening or treatment into its remit.

The question has to be asked: how will it be possible to add on yet another (and another and another) service to their mandate without providing additional resources in the form of staff, commodities and equipment to take on this additional burden?

A promising initiative, the Uganda Initiative for the Integrated Management of NCDs (UINCD) was launched to begin looking at how this might be accomplished. A partnership between Mulago Hospital and Yale University, the initiative will begin establishing a model this year for the integrated management of NCDs within existing health structures, starting with Mulago Hospital and rapidly extending out to lower-level health centers. Through the establishment of a center of excellence on NCD programming at Mulago Hospital, the initiative hopes to establish best practices and recommendations for the scale up of integrated NCD management within the Uganda health system.

Dr. Christine Sow is the Executive Director of the Global Health Council. This blog is part 2 of 4, stay tuned for the next two posts.

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