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Uganda National Health Users’/ Consumers’ Organisation (UNHCO) PDF Print E-mail

Who We Are
UNHCO is a not for profit Nongovernmental organization formed in 1999 to provide an institutionalized platform for health consumers and users to voice out their concerns and participate in creating and sustaining an effective service delivery system.
UNHCO promotes and advocates for sustainable access to affordable and quality health care services for all, based on the mutuality of rights and obligations of both the health service users and providers. Its work feeds directly into the second national health policy, national development plan 2010/2015, the health sector strategic and investment plan, the constitution and the universal declaration of human rights. These recognize the right to health and encourage civil society and consumer active and meaningful participation in effective health service delivery and development.

It is a champion of the right to health in Uganda with a national coverage of 20 districts. It has championed development of the patients’ charter and has for the previous years been raising awareness about patients’ rights and obligations. It has an MoU with Ministry of Health and represents civil society to the policy organs of the Ministry of Health (MoH) like Health Policy Advisory Committee (HPAC), Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), and Health insurance among others. It is a member of international networks like International Alliance of patients Organizations (IAPO Regional AIDS Training Network (RATN) and has undertaken assignments with the World Bank and WHO. UNHCO employs the RBA (Rights based approach) and social accountability tools. With support from development partners; local and international it has over the years increased grass root communities served.

The partnership between UNHCO and the C4C alliance started after UNHCO was recommended by CORDAID. At the end of the PMTCT project, UNHCO submitted a proposal with an ICT component focusing on maternal and child health. This helped to introduce UNHCO to the C4C alliance to collaborate on the ICT component of the project which involves development of maternal health messages, publicizing the project using different avenues such as the AKVO website.

A society where consumers’ rights and obligations are realized for quality health care.

Advocate for realization of health consumer rights and obligations.

UNHCO’S mandate is to carry out activities in the field of consumers’ health service advocacy and medical professional ethics country wide.

a) Undertake research that facilitates evidence based advocacy and policy engagement for improved health care delivery in Uganda.
b) Increased transparency and accountability in the delivery of quality health services.
c) Strengthen UNHCO’s institutional capacity to deliver its mandate.
d) Enhance knowledge and skills of key stakeholders in the health sector on the right to health.
e) Increased social mobilization and Utilization for reduction of morbidity and mortality.
f) Strengthen UNHCO’s capacity for efficient and effective Monitoring and Evaluation of its strategic plan.
g) Strengthen and Implement UNHCO’s managerial, administrative and financial systems.

h) Increased visibility and awareness of UNHCO among its target audience.

Core Values

In pursuing its mission and vision, UNHCO is guided by the following core values:
• Integrity: UNHCO maintains an unquestioned internal and public image. In all our actions and dealings we exercise high ethical standards.
• Team work and excellence: UNHCO believes in staff collaboration, learning and mutual support for effective implementation of its programs.
• Time management: We recognized that effective and efficient use of UNHCO directly improves performance. In all our dealing we value time especially cognizant of the fact that we are dealing with matters of health and life. In the health sector misuse of even a minute can cost a life. We also consider timely identification of citizens concerns and prompt response.
• Accountability, transparency and corporate governance: UNHCO maintains an open policy in its dealings. It empowers citizens to oversee its activities including those of other actors in their localities. Our decisions and dealings with others are open, fair, cost-effective and in all ways, any form of corrupt and compromised practices is strongly detestable and harshly punishable.
• Learning and sharing: We are an experienced organization yet learning continuously because learning stops growth stops. We believed in continuous learning and innovation for continuous growth and improvement. We therefore provide opportunities for our staff, citizens and partners to learn.
• Constructive engagement at all levels: We are a bridge between health providers, policy makers and citizens. We believe in honest and constructive non confrontational engagement between these three parties to drive the health sector forward.
• Partnership and networking: UNHCO believes in partnerships, joint action, alliances and multi-stakeholder engagement. We believed in collaboration as opposed to competition. We also believe that the challenges of the health sector require every one’s effort.
• Citizens, participation: We believe the citizens know better their health needs and are better placed to articulate them. We acknowledge our facilitative role in the process of planning and delivery of health services. Our deliberate effort is to empower communities to voice their concerns to policy makers and implementers and create opportunities for such.

Current C4C Projects

The Uganda National Health User’s / Consumers’ Organization (UNHCO) signed a funding agreement with Cordaid the project; “Contributing to reduction of maternal mortality Using the rights based approach through increased communication and information sharing.’ October 2011 - 2014. The project goal is to contribute to the reduction of maternal mortality and it is implemented in Balawoli and Kamuli town council in Kamuli District, Kinuuka and Kaliiro in Lyantonde District and Zirobwe and Nyimbwa in Luweero district. The specific objectives of the project are;
1. Establishing/strengthening confidential mechanisms for obtaining feedback and responding to feedback on maternal health rights and services for community members and health workers through communication and information sharing by 2014;
2. Lobbying and advocating for maternal health rights through data collection, documentation and dissemination of this information to all stakeholders by 2014 using ICT tools.
UNHCO is also partnering with TEXT TO CHANGE to design and send maternal health messages to send out to community members targeting those aged between 15-49 years both men and women. These messages are sent to registered beneficiaries with mobile phones. The registration of these beneficiaries is done using short code words that are sent to a short code number. This platform is also used as a feedback channel on what’s happening in their communities in terms of health service delivery.

Other Projects
Contributing to the reduction of maternal mortality in Uganda is a 3yr advocacy program focusing on the right of all mothers to life and health. It’s supported by The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
1. Assessment of the extent to which resources allocated to health facilities affect access to essential medicines in Lira and Bushenyi Districts.. This is a research project supported by Results For Development(R4D)
2. Open Society Foundation is supporting a project on promoting transparency and accountability in the public sector and uses the communities score card methodology.

Other ICT Innovations in Use
Using an SMS platform for sensitization, mobilization and feedback.

Uganda National Health Users’/ Consumers’ Organisation,
Plot 19, Bukoto Street, Kamwokya,
PO Box 70095,
Kampala, Uganda.
Tel: +256-414-532123
Website: www.unhco.or.ug

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