Uganda struggles with relatively high levels of morbidity and mortality from preventable causes. Living Goods seeks to change that.
Providing Critical Health Services through our Direct Operations
At least 76 percent of Uganda’s population lives in rural areas and has very poor access to quality health care. Despite significant efforts to improve the health system, the country is still far from the goal of achieving universal health coverage, and the Government of Uganda recognizes the need to design and develop a highly effective, localized health care delivery system. However, extending basic health care services to the entire population remains a challenge—especially given the shortage of health workers.
With only one doctor for every 25,000 people, Uganda falls significantly short of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of one doctor for every 1,000 people. Consequently, the system is stretched, and health facilities are heavily overburdened, drastically reducing both the motivation of health workers and quality of services. In 2001, Uganda introduced community health workers, known as Village Health Teams (VHTs), to reduce the burden at health facilities and increase promotive and preventative health behaviors. While VHTs have contributed to improved health outcomes, 75 percent of the disease burden largely remains due to preventable diseases.
Since 2007, Living Goods has worked closely with Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and district-level local governments to strengthen the health system by recruiting, training, and supporting a network of community health workers (CHWs) who serve as government VHTs to deliver essential, high-quality services. Additionally, Living Goods has provided technical and financial assistance to the MOH and District Health Teams and partners like BRAC. At the end of 2018 we were supporting 3,200 digitally empowered CHWs in 20 districts, while our partner BRAC was supporting 3,850 CHWs in 75 districts.
By providing education and counseling support on nutrition, water and sanitation, the integrated treatment of malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia, family planning, supporting immunization counseling and referrals, and the health of pregnant women and mothers, Living Goods pays special attention to the child’s first 1,000 days of life. This is a unique and critical period that establishes a child’s foundation for optimal health, growth, and mental development. And Living Goods continuously adapts its programming and approaches to drive greater impact.
By 2021, we aim to support and digitally empower at least 13,000 CHWs who will provide health care to more than 10.5 million Ugandans. To make this goal a reality, we work closely with national and district government partners to provide technical assistance and support for community health programming. By providing strategy support, technical expertise in areas such as mobile technology, use of data or performance management analytics, and financing, we enabled more than 5.6 million people in Uganda to live healthier lives in 2018.
Saving Lives in Uganda
sick children under five treated and referred
sick children under one treated and referred
new pregnancies registered
active community health workers
total people served
Cumulative annual data as of December 2022
Partnering with government to deliver community health
Beyond our direct operations, Living Goods’ overarching goal is to support the Government of Uganda in developing a sustainable integrated community health system that its Ministry of Health can operate, manage, and fund to ensure the delivery of high-quality community health services.
Living Goods’ community health approach leverages digital health technology to improve supervision, performance, and motivation of CHWs and to, in turn, drive positive health outcomes. We lend our digital health expertise to inform Uganda’s eHealth efforts through the nationally convened eHealth technical working group (TWG) and health information systems TWG. We also support the Ministry’s goal of establishing a functional community health management system.
We support the government through a wide variety of approaches, beyond direct technical assistance and financial support. We actively participate in national TWGs—forums convened by the government for technical public and nonprofit sector officers to contribute to policy processes at the national and district levels—and government advisory committees—critical channels for sharing best practices and providing expertise.
- Supporting the development of the National Community Health Extension Worker Policy. Living Goods supported the MOH to conduct a Regulatory Impact Assessment for the community health extension worker (CHEW) program, a cabinet prerequisite needed prior to the approval of any new policy, bill, or regulation for evidence-based policymaking. We also provided financial and technical assistance to finalize the assessment and supporting documentation for submission to the cabinet.
- Supporting MOH to improve community-level data. Living Goods is supporting the MOH Division of Health Information and Community Health Department to ensure that all the data collected by our supported CHWs is in line with community health priorities. Harmonizing data collection tools reduces the workload of health workers, biostatisticians, and the MOH, and also strengthens evidence-based decision making.
- Launching district dashboards to improve evidence-based decision making. We developed district dashboards and trained local government officials in Mukono and Mayuge districts. The dashboards provide real-time data, showing a graphical representation of the historical and present status of key community health indicators.
- Community results-based financing (RBF) in Kyotera and Masaka. In 2018, with funding from the Deerfield Foundation, we launched a community results-based financing (RBF) scheme in partnership with the Government of Uganda.
September 27, 2023
In a landmark visit, Dr. Daniel Kyabayinze, the Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health, visited the Bwaise, Uganda learning site. The purpose of his visit was to witness firsthand the transformative impact of digital health tools in the Kawanda community and to acknowledge the critical role played by Community Health Workers (CHWs) in extending essential healthcare services.
August 31, 2023
In community health contexts, meanwhile, RBF can be impactful and cost-effective but needs to be simplified to fit the environment in which it is applied to avoid discounting payment based on external, uncontrollable factors.
August 31, 2023
BRAC is transitioning the remaining 1,500 of their CHWs (who do not have DESC support) to government as eCHIS rolls out.
August 31, 2023
CHWs were more active and effective, driven by tech improvements, a stable supply of medicines, improved supervision and intentional data use through regular reviews that resulted in priority follow-ups to low-performing areas or CHWs.
August 21, 2023
As we move forward with the implementation of our 2022-2026 strategic plan, we remain steadfast in working side by side with governments to improve the performance, impact and reach of community health workers (CHWs) and strengthen the overall system.
Uganda Country Director
Christine Namayanja joined Living Goods in October 2020 as Uganda Country Director. She is responsible for providing strategic leadership for programs across the country and successfully driving community health impact at scale through improved technology infrastructure, investments in human capital, and partnerships with government, development agencies and communities. Christine is a seasoned leader with more than two decades of experience managing health programs at senior levels, and has significant expertise in strategic leadership, strategic communications, private sector approaches, and innovative health financing mechanisms. A sociologist by background, Christine has a deep commitment to sexual and reproductive health and previously worked with organizations including Abt Associates and Marie Stopes International. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Social Sciences at Makerere University. Christine is a Rotarian, a mentor and passionate about advancing the empowerment of girls and women- achieve a world where women can reach their full potential.
Dr. Stella Kanyerere
Deputy Country Director/Director Program Delivery
Dr Kanyerere oversees the implementation of Living Goods’ strategy in Uganda and manages the Programs Delivery team. Additionally, she supports growth of strategic partnerships and business development efforts. Stella is a medical practitioner and public health specialist with more than a decade’s experience in planning, implementation, and M&E of maternal, neonatal and child health programs. Her experience also encompasses provision of technical assistance in health system strengthening to government at the national and district levels. Stella joined Living Goods as a Community Health Program Manager and led the implementation of the GAVI funded immunization program, providing technical and managerial oversight for the training, M&E, and quality assurance functions. Prior to joining Living Goods, Stella worked in HIV programming at Protecting Families Against HIV AIDS (PREFA) and the Uganda Aids Commission. She holds a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Melbourne, Australia and a MBChB from Makerere University, Uganda in addition to other certificates and short courses in program management and evaluation.
Director Partnerships, Advocacy and Communications
Amy is responsible for the management and supervision of advocacy and government relations, whilst working closely and collaboratively with the Global Business Development and Communications Heads. Previously, Amy was the Senior Manager, Business Development, since joining Living Goods in January 2021. She brings over 21 years of experience in business development, strategic partnership development, policy and advocacy. Prior to Living Goods, Amy was the Regional Manager, East Africa for VSO, where for five years, she managed and grew the bi/multilateral portfolio. Amy has worked as the Senior External Relations Manager at Marie Stopes Uganda, Programme Manager at African AIDS Vaccine Partnership (AAVP), and Director of Development for CARE USA. Amy has a BA degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College, and Non-profit Leadership and Strategic Management certified from SF State University.
Head of Finance and Administration
Rose joined Living Goods in October 2020 as the Head of Finance and Administration. Prior to joining Living Goods, Rose was working as a Finance Management Specialist for International Conference of Great Lakes Region (ICLR) for five years. In the past, she worked as a Finance and Administration Director of TASO Uganda, Finance and Support Services Director for World Vision Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, and held numerous other senior finance and support services leadership roles. She has extensive experience with multi- and bi-lateral funding, including World Bank, USAID, UNICEF, and AUSAID, to name but a few. Rose is a CPA and holds a Masters in Management Studies. She is passionate about servant leadership and building effective teams that empower leadership with information for strategic decision making.
Senior Manager, HR Business Partner
Juliet is a seasoned HR professional with Living Goods in Uganda. She brings a wealth of experience to her role from previous roles at World Wide Fund for Nature, where she worked as a Country HR Manager; World Vision Uganda as Regional People and Culture Business Partner; and International Rescue Committee, where she worked as a Regional Senior HR and Administration Officer for the Karamoja region. She has a master’s degree in Management Studies, with a focus on Human Resources Management and Development from Uganda Management Institute. She also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management and Development from Uganda Management Institute, a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Makerere University and a certificate in Administrative law.
Monica Gertrude Mugisha
Senior Manager, Digital Health
Monica offers strategic support to the country’s leadership on digital health and technology initiatives, approaches, projects, and partnerships. She oversees digital health operations and projects in the department. Monica joined Living Goods in June 2019 as the Manager, Technology Operations, where she was responsible for project management, field support, and internal IT system support. Monica has over 10 years of experience in technology innovations and service management within the banking and telecom sectors. Prior to joining Living Goods, she worked with Stanbic Bank Uganda for 7 years, where she pioneered the service management function in the IT department. She also worked with Huawei Technologies, supporting 5 countries in which MTN operates. Monica is passionate about women and youth empowerment.
Uganda Technical Advisory Committee
Collin Mugasha Babirukamu
Director of E-government Services at the National Information Technology Authority
Collin is a Digital Transformation Specialist with over two decades of experience working in the East Africa region. He is currently the Director of E-government Services at the National Information Technology Authority, where he leads the digital transformation journey for the Government of Uganda. Before this, Collin served as the Technology Lead for Oracle Corporation in East Africa and the Chief Information Officer at NSSF Uganda. Collin is passionate about transforming government processes to ensure citizens can conveniently and affordably access public services online. In addition to his professional roles, Collin is also a respected member of several boards, including FINCA Uganda, Family Television, and AEE Holdings. He is widely recognized as a thought leader in the field of digital transformation.
Dr. David Musoke
Senior Lecturer at the Makerere University School of Public Health
Dr. Musoke is a Senior Lecturer at the Makerere University School of Public Health in Uganda, where he is involved in teaching, research, and community service. He is a renowned researcher in the fields of community health, environmental health, malaria prevention, one health, and antimicrobial resistance. Dr. Musoke is Co-Chair of the Community Health Workers Thematic Working Group of Health Systems Global, Chair of the Africa Academy of Environmental Health, and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. He is also an Affiliate Member of the African Academy of Sciences. His outstanding contributions to the field of public health are reflected in his extensive academic output, which includes over 100 peer-reviewed publications, 4 book chapters, and over 100 conference presentations. Dr. Musoke is also an External Examiner at several universities, including the University of Malawi, the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. In addition, he is an academic editor for several highly respected journals, including PLOS Global Public Health, BMC Public Health, BMC Health Services Research, and the Journal of Environmental and Public Health. Dr. Musoke is particularly recognized for spearheading the first-ever International Symposium on Community Health Workers held in Uganda in 2017. These symposia are now held biennially across the world, with the second held in Bangladesh (2019), and the third in Liberia (2023).
Dr. Charles Ayume
Senior Medical Doctor and Politician. Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health.
Dr. Ayume is a senior medical doctor and politician. He was elected as a member of parliament, representing Koboko Municipality in 2021 and he is currently the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Health. Dr. Ayume also serves as a Member of the Parliamentary Forum on Malaria and the Parliamentary Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases. He has a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from Makerere University and a master’s degree in health policy, planning and financing. He is a strong advocate of health systems strengthening and policy. He is also an advocate for Hepatitis B and Sickle Cell Disease.
Dr. Sarah Byakika
Commissioner of Health Services - Planning, Financing and Policy at the Ministry of Health
Dr. Byakika is the Commissioner of Health Services -Planning, Financing and Policy at the Ministry of Health. She holds a Master of Science in Community Health and Health Services Management and a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MUK). Byakika served as Ag. Commissioner of Health Services Planning, Financing & Policy, Assistant Commissioner of Health Services, Quality Assurance, District Health Officer, Jinja District, Deputy District Director of Health Services, Jinja District, Senior Medical Officer, Jinja Regional Referral Hospital. She has facilitated a number of training programs for District Health Managers in collaboration with Makerere University School of Public Health e.g., the District Health Services Improvement Course, a Fellowship Program for Leadership and Management, Quality Improvement Fellowship Programs, Strategic Leadership and Management Skills for Reproductive Health, PMTCT, Support supervision and quality of care. Byakika has written and published at least 7 articles on various themes to improve Public Health & Policy.
Community Health Worker
Rita has been a community health worker for more than eight years, in her community in Gayaza. She self-initiated community engagements in her village church where childhood diseases and malnutrition were a high burden. She started holding church meetings to teach children and their families’ basic information about health and hygiene. This was the start of her journey as a Village Health Team (VHT) member. Through her experience, Rita has worked tirelessly to bring health services to the doors of families by assessing, treating, referring, and making follow-ups on those in the community in order to bolster better health. Rita serves many households, mainly conducting health education; treating malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea among children under five; offering family planning services to women of reproductive age; giving antenatal and postnatal care; and offering immunization counselling and referrals. Equipped with the necessary training, essential medicines, proper supervision and digital tools, Rita and other VHTs have contributed tremendously to improving RMNCH indicators in their communities. Rita is a strong advocate for community health. In 2019, Living Goods supported Rita to attend the World Health Assembly in Geneva, alongside Uganda’s Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng. Rita had the opportunity to share with the Minister and other world leaders what she and other VHTs do, while also making several public presentations around her role as a VHT to galvanize support for community health programs.