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 5 assessed
sick children under 5 treated
new pregnancies registered
active community health workers
total people served
Cumulative data as of December 2019, updated quarterly
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.
Over 13000 VHTs have been enrolled and over 8000 supported with Android phones to ease their work.@MinofHealthUG is proud of the work done by @Living_Goods.
We look forward to more collaboration as we work towards achieving UHC. Community engagement is paramount for this pic.twitter.com/D70ICG5Ti6
— Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng (@JaneRuth_Aceng) May 28, 2019
For most of 2018, we ramped up our collaboration with government partners by increasing support to the MOH to achieve community health priorities by direct technical assistance and capacity building as well as increasing our participation in TWGs and government advisory committees, leading to several achievements, including:
- Supporting COVID-19 Response Efforts. Living Goods is making a comprehensive commitment to supporting the MOH in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
Supporting the Ministry of Health in Creating and Promoting COVID-19 Guidelines for VHTs
COVID-19: Ensuring Continuity of Essential Health Services
In light of COVID-19, we have strengthened our commitment and support to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and district governments to build a stronger and more resilient community health system. We recognise that sustenance of effective community-based care is more important at this critical time than ever before, which is why we have adapted our programmes to ensure continuity of essential health service delivery in our 19 districts in which we operate.
- 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.
Government Relations and Advocacy in Uganda
Learn more about how we’re partnering with the Ugandan government to develop the policies, budgets and operational frameworks to support effective community health programs.
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Country Director, Uganda
Emilie is a passionate leader committed to influencing social and health changes. Since 1998, she has worked in leadership and management roles in both the private and nonprofit sector creating visions and strategies for organizations to enable them to expand health and social impact, foster innovation, grow and develop large professional teams and build meaningful and sustainable relations with government and key stakeholders. Working in South East Asia, Europe, and East Africa, she managed a diverse portfolio of projects including maternal, newborn, and child health services; reproductive health; social marketing; and fast-moving goods. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from EDHEC in Lille, France and speaks fluent English, French, and Spanish.
Deputy Country Director, Direct Operations
Edward Zzimbe is a private sector and health markets expert with local and international programmes experience. He is currently the Deputy Country Director of Direct Operations for Living Goods in Uganda. He has successfully designed and managed several large and innovative donor-funded programmes for DFID, USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNFPA, UNDP, the World Bank and the German Development Bank (KfW). He has an exceptional track record in delivering results and has previously served as the Technical Director & deputy to the team leader for DFID Kenya’s flagship family planning. He is an expert in external relations including working with governments, New business development, public relations and has represented Africa at the House of Commons (UK) and European Parliament (Brussels).
Dr. Diana Nambatya Nsubuga
Deputy Country Director, Community Health Partnerships
Dr. Nsubuga is an accomplished public health professional with expansive experience in health systems strengthening and community health programming in ten African countries, including Uganda and Ethiopia. She has developed partnerships with more than 40 organizations. Prior to joining Living Goods, she served as the Country Manager for Global Health Corps. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Health and has won several leadership awards. She has also served as an Honorary Associate Professor at Makerere University as part of her community service. Diana is the Living Goods representative for UHC2030.
Uganda Technical Advisory Board
Professor Francis Omaswa
Chairperson, Uganda Technical Advisory Board & Executive Director, African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation
Professor Omaswa is the Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), an independent think tank and network that works to stimulate the growth of African-rooted capacity for leadership and excellence in health. Until May 2008, he was the founding executive director of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA). Prof. Omaswa is a graduate of Makerere Medical School, Uganda, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of He has served as a Director General for Ministry of Health. In his past career, Prof. Omaswa was the Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya. He is also the founding director of the Uganda Heart Institute and founding president of the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa, which covers 12 countries. He has served as founding chairman of the Global Stop TB Partnership board, chair of the portfolio and procurement committee of the Global Fund board, chair of the GAVI Independent Review Committee and a member of the steering committee of the high-level forum on health-related MDGs. Prof. Omaswa is also the current chancellor of Busitema University.
Dr. Olive Sentumbwe
Member, Uganda Technical Advisory Board & Family Health and Population Advisor, World Health Organization
Dr. Ssentumbwe is the Family Health and Population Advisor at the World Health Organisation. She has been a champion of family planning and maternal health throughout her career. She is a renown author of many peer review articles and papers on maternal health. She is an active member of the Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Dr. Peter Khisa Wakholi
Member, Uganda Technical Advisory Board & Chief Executive Officer, OMNI TECH Limited
Dr. Peter Khisa Wakholi is the CEO of OMNI TECH Ltd. Peter has over 13 years’ experience in the information and communications technology industry, having started as an Information Systems Administrator at DFID Uganda. He then worked as a lecturer at Makerere University Faculty of Computing and IT. In addition, he worked as the Assistant Head of the Department of Innovations and Software Development at Makerere University, where he oversaw the successful implementation of a number of projects. Peter holds a Ph.D. in Information Sciences from the University of Bergen in Norway. His research focused on the use of mobile devices for data collection, with a focus on support for process-related constraints. In addition, he holds a Master’s degree in Information Systems from London South Bank University, UK.