Introducing quality improvement management methods into primary health care services in Uganda.

F. Omaswa, G. Burnham, G. Baingana, H. Mwebesa, R. Morrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Uganda's National Quality Assurance Program was established in 1994 to monitor the process of decentralization of primary health care services. Guidelines were developed to address problems (e.g., in obtaining health funds channeled through local government) identified at district meetings. Bringing together District Health Teams with local administrators and political leaders to share responsibility for strengthening health services has been a significant program achievement. A smoother functioning referral system from health units to district hospitals has resulted. The response to a measles outbreak in the Arua district in 1993-94 confirmed the utility of the quality management approach. Weaknesses in the district cold chain, problems with diagnostic accuracy, and a poorly functioning information system were identified as key causative factors, and corrective action in these areas led to a subsequent decline in measles cases. Patient dissatisfaction with long waiting times at Masaka Hospital was another concern addressed through the quality assurance approach. Five salient areas were identified for action: low health worker morale, supply shortages, inadequate supervision by hospital management, poor patient flow, and inefficient drug dispensing. As a result, long delays were eliminated and utilization of hospital outpatient services increased by 28%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-15
Number of pages4
JournalQ.A. brief
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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