News

URC Commemorating World TB Day 2017 in Uganda

On Friday March 24, 2017, Uganda joined the rest of the world in commemorating World TB Day under the theme Unite to End TB. According to the 2015 Uganda National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey, Uganda has an annual prevalence of 253 per 100,000 persons, over 90,000 tuberculosis cases every year. However, the 2016 Global Tuberculosis Report found that only 43,736 TB cases (49%) were identified in Uganda in 2015. Based on this information, Uganda selected the slogan “Find the Missing TB patients” for this year’s campaign.

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Telling Our Story: The USAID Strengthening Uganda's Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) Project

Since June 2010, USAID’s Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project has worked to strengthen the public health care system by promoting increased government stewardship for the implementation of key HIV prevention, care and treatment services at public regional referral hospitals and selected district hospitals.

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Arua Regional Referral Hospital is using expert clients biweekly meetings and in-depth counseling for viral load suppression

“Most of the patients here with detectable viral loads are those who stop taking drugs due to a commonly held belief that prayers heal HIV, those who take their medicines after a 12-hour span due to religious fasting practices, children and orphans without treatment supporters to remind them to take their medicines, traders who travel to Congo and Sudan and miss their HIV care appointments, and alcohol addicts who never remember to take their drugs.” 

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Building capacity of healthcare workers in managing malnutrition in health service delivery

The USAID/Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project has kick-started a mop-up training of healthcare workers for the integration of nutrition across the continuum of HIV care. The training follows a revision in the Ministry of Health national guidelines, additional to the need for aligning service provision to the 2013 World Health Organization requirements for managing malnutrition.

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Engaging youths in the provision of adolescent-friendly services, an experience from Lira Regional Referral Hospital

Adolescents are not simply beneficiaries of social programs, they are themselves actors for social change.  At Lira Regional Referral Hospital, three youth volunteers (ages 24, 23 and 22) have demonstrated their abilities and capabilities by supporting the newly established adolescent services center to gain function. From offering health education and registration to managing client flow, the three youth volunteers have made the provision of adolescent friendly services possible in a context of staff shortages. 

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Mbale Regional Referral Hospital Laboratory has attained a five-star status

Mbale Regional Referral Hospital Laboratory attained a five-star status in the recently concluded Ministry of Health (MOH) led national laboratory audits. This is the first time a Regional Hospital Laboratory has achieved more than 95% of the international standards requirements for laboratory quality and competency. This is the highest attainable star status following the World Health Organization’s Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) criteria.

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USAID/SUSTAIN has commenced a training of healthcare workers on the provision of family planning services

According to USAID Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN), provision of family planning services at 12 regional referral hospitals is still as low as 20%.  At the same time, there is an increasing number of HIV-positive women attending the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) clinic getting pregnant.

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USAID/SUSTAIN joins Uganda Ministry of Health to commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) day 2016

“I spent seven years treating TB. I moved to five districts across Uganda and also travelled to Tanzania but the TB was not getting cured. By this time I had sold three of my plots of land to raise money for transport and treatment and at some points slept in the church to protect my family from the disease. When it was confirmed that I had MDR-TB, there was no treatment in Uganda at the time. Instead, I was promised that the drugs were about to come so I would be informed to start treatment immediately....

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SUSTAIN improves adolescent friendly services at six Uganda hospitals

On March 2-3, 2016, USAID/SUSTAIN conducted a two-day collaborative learning session with 36 healthcare workers from six hospitals (Mbale, Lira, Kabale, Jinja, Moroto and Gulu) involved in a pilot to establish adolescent friendly healthcare services (AFHS). Six staff from each of the hospitals were provided the opportunity to learn from each other, particularly on how to establish AFHS at the hospital level, generate demand for adolescent services, and provide them in a way friendly enough to meet the unique needs of adolescents. 

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Lira Infectious Disease Clinic (LIDC) Clients Association’s thanksgiving ceremony reinforces the need to end discrimination against HIV-positive clients

On the sunny morning of January 30, 2016, the vibrant LIDC association members marched through the streets of Lira town chanting songs of hope, love and the end of HIV discrimination as they headed to AkiiBua stadium to celebrate their thanksgiving ceremony.  The Association—consisting of more than 10,000 persons living positively—includes children, adolescents and adults accessing care and treatment services at Lira Regional Referral Hospital (RRH).  This was the first ever gathering of HIV-positive clients in the Lango sub-region.

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Utilizing hub riders for effective linkage and enrolment of clients into HIV care at lower level healthcare facilities

UNAIDS recently published an ambitious plan—90-90-90—to end the HIV epidemic. It aims, that by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV will know their status, 90% of them will receive sustained antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, and that all people receiving ARVs have a viral suppression of 90%. Although many strategies are needed to control the HIV epidemic, one thing is certain: it will be impossible to end the epidemic without bringing HIV treatment to all who need it.
 
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Establishment of adolescent-friendly health centres foster provision of services to young people in Uganda

In Uganda, six regional referral hospitals (RRHs)—Gulu, Jinja, Kabale, Lira, Mbale and Moroto—have begun providing services specifically for young people at the newly-established centres for adolescent-friendly health services (AFHS). This initiative started because often adolescents do not access reproductive health services due to fear of embarrassment and lack of confidentiality at general out-patient units where services are typically initiated.

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Building the capacity of healthcare workers to manage adolescent health at six regional referral hospitals in Uganda

USAID’s Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) conducted a five-day training for 297 healthcare workers from six regional referral hospitals in Uganda on provision of adolescent health friendly services. In collaboration with the Uganda Ministry of Health at each of the six regional referral hospitals, USAID/SUSTAIN trained healthcare workers from several departments with a strong representation from the HIV clinic, maternal and child health, antenatal, nutrition and mental units.
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Assessing provision of adolescent-friendly services at six regional referral hospitals in Uganda

The stage of adolescence (10-19 years) is not just a period in which boys and girls become sexually active. It is also typically a time of experimentation, new experiences and, importantly, of vulnerability to HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and teenage pregnancies among others. In the current global landscape where millions of adolescents live in countries with a high burden of HIV1 (Uganda inclusive), the need for hospitals to ensure access to information and services for HIV and sexual and reproductive health for adolescents becomes increasingly important.
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Using the family-centered approach to increase HIV testing, enrollment, and adherence to ART, an experience from Mubende Regional Referral Hospital

December, 2015; Studies on the impact of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) have focused mainly on the individual, especially in regards to prevention and strategies for those who are HIV-positive to cope with the disease.

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Rosemary Celebrates: Baby Declared HIV-free on World AIDS Day

December 1, 2015

A chuckle escaped Rosemary's lips. Chock full of emotion, Rosemary was dumbfounded! She even asked for a moment to catch her breath on seeing her baby’s blood sample slowly rest on the negative edge of an HIV test kit. This was the scene today at the Mother-Baby HIV Care Point in Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in eastern Uganda where Rosemary’s child was discovered to be free of HIV.

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Moving Towards Virtual Elimination of Mother To Child Transmission of HIV: USAID/SUSTAIN-Supported Soroti RRH Showcases Early Results of Option B+ at the Teso Launch

On 31st July 2015, hundreds of people from Teso region gathered at Soroti Boma grounds to participate in the launch of elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (EMTCT) of HIV, where the First Lady of Uganda Hon. Janet Museveni was the guest of honour.

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USAID/SUSTAIN Orients hospital Data and Records Officers on the use of revised HMIS tools

The USAID Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally project in collaboration with the Uganda Ministry of Health resource center embarked on a week-long Trainer of Trainees (TOT) training for 26 Data and Medical Records Officers from 14 public health care facilities. Each hospital was represented by both a Data Officer and Medical Records Officer at this training.

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USAID/SUSTAIN facilitates the first quarterly cohort review meeting for Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

USAID/SUSTAIN project provides technical and logistical assistance to 7 out of the 15 DR-TB treatment sites in the country. In addition, the project supports the Uganda Ministry of Health’s National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme to conduct quarterly Drug Resistant TB cohort reviews. These cohort reviews are a systematic process to monitor and evaluate interim status and final treatment outcomes of all patients with Multi Drug Resistant TB who are enrolled onto treatment programs. These reviews also serve as fora for validating reported data for consistency and accuracy.

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Streamlined appointment system reduces overcrowding at Mubende’s anti-retroviral (ART) clinic increasing client access to care and treatment services

Mubende Regional Referral Hospital in western Uganda is one of the 13 high-volume hospitals supported by the USAID Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project in Uganda with funding from PEPFAR. By December 2011, the hospital had 2,590 HIV-positive clients who were active on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) at the Mubende ART Clinic, and the team was overwhelmed by the growing number of HIV-positive clients visiting the clinic for care and treatment.
 
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One Nurse Makes a Difference at Lira Regional Referral Hospital-Early Infant Diagnosis Care Point

Dorothy Ejang, commonly known as ‘Sister Dorothy’, is a registered nurse providing frontline paediatric HIV care and treatment at Lira Regional Referral Hospital’s Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) care point. The EID care point serves HIV-exposed children (babies born to HIV-infected women) from birth up to 18 months of age, when the baby is either referred to anti-retroviral therapy if HIV-positive or discharged if HIV-negative.
 
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Engaging males in reproductive health, including preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV: Meet the Antenatal Care Clinic In-charge of Mbale Regional Referral Hospital

It is 9:00 in the morning and an announcement rings out in the corridors of Mbale Regional Referral Hospital Antenatal Care (ANC) Clinic: “If you have not come with your husband, please call and ask him to come. If he is unable now, come with him next time.” The announcement was made by Sr. Helen Okwii, the ANC Clinic In-charge speaking to expectant mothers before her health education talk on reproductive health, which included a session on HIV emphasizing the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

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Improving nutrition assessment and treatment at 14-supported healthcare facilities

Uganda’s burden of malnutrition is currently estimated at 20 - 25% among adults initiated on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), 30-40% for HIV-infected children[1], and 5% for children below 5 years[2]. Because malnutrition can impair healing, increase the possibility of infections and reduce one’s productivity if not managed, it remains a serious danger for people living with HIV/AIDS. During the early stages of the infection, HIV makes demands on the body’s nutritional status, further increasing the risk of malnutrition.

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Meeting the demand for HIV testing and counselling (HTC) services at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital

Like other regional referral hospitals (RRHs), Gulu RRH is a high-volume healthcare facility with a shortage of service providers. Clients arrive as early as 7:00am and often wait for 2-3 hours before they are attended to by clinicians. As one walks through the hospital gate, the queue of patients at the main Out-Patients Department waiting area is striking. Long queues like this one are a familiar sight at other Out-patient clinics within the hospital as the day unfolds.

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Improving client appointment-keeping at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital (RRH)

Effective HIV care requires clients to adhere to regular appointments for drug refills, clinical and laboratory, as well as ART adherence monitoring. But all too frequently, clients fail to observe their scheduled appointments, often due to the time, cost and inconvenience of travelling to and waiting at the clinic. Furthermore, service provider teams often have difficulties following up clients because of inaccuracies in client contact information captured at registration.

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USAID/SUSTAIN and Ministry of Health hold a learning session on use of quality improvement approaches

Held in Kampala between 15-19th June 2014 , USAID/SUSTAIN and the Ministry of Health concluded a quality improvement learning session for eight supported hospitals (Fort Portal, Kaabong, Kabale, Kawolo,  Mbale, Moroto, Mubende and Soroti). Aiming to institutionalize quality improvement (QI) structures in hospitals systems, the project brought together hospital managements teams and all heads of departments within the eight hospitals to review the pace quality improvement has gained in the past one year.

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Improving the TB Cure Rate at Mubende Regional Referral Hospital

Sr. Theresa Kitandwe, Mubende RRH TB unit In-charge, shares her experience in improving the hospital TB cure rate from 33% -75% within 8 months

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Case Study: Integration of 5S and Continuous Quality Improvement Approaches to Improve Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Services at Entebbe General Hospital

At Entebbe General Hospital (GH) in Central Uganda, integration of 5S (Set, Sort, Shine, Standardize and Sustain) and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) approaches into the healthcare service delivery system registered remarkable improvements in provision of services to HIV-infected mothers and their babies.

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Using Quality Improvement Methods to Strengthen Provider-Initiated HIV Testing and Counselling Services at Hospital Level

According to the Uganda Health Demographic Survey (2011), a significant proportion—up to 44% men and 25% of women—have never had an HIV test, although more than 90% of Ugandans know about the importance of HIV testing and where they can access testing services. Consequently, most are less likely to know their HIV status.

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Upgrading the Capacity of Regional Medical Equipment Maintenance Workshops in Uganda

On January 30, 2014, the USAID Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) programme provided a small fleet of vehicles to the Uganda Ministry of Health (MOH) to support activities of seven Regional Medical Equipment Maintenance Workshops. The seven vehicles will provide transport to the workshop teams, allowing them to conduct routine repairs, maintenance and servicing of various medical equipment in the Arua, Fort Portal, Gulu, Hoima, Kabale, Lira and Mbale regions.

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Streamlining Client Flow Systems at Public Healthcare Facilities to Integrate HIV Testing and Counselling

For Regional Referral and General Hospitals, which continue to experience large client numbers in HIV clinics, effective client flow systems will further improve the quality and efficiency of services. In close partnership with Ministry of Health (MOH), the USAID Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) program strengthens healthcare service provider skills through training, mentoring/coaching and support supervision for quality HIV service delivery.

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SUSTAIN Conducts Third Shared Learning Session on HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC)

November 27th -28th 2013 – The USAID SUSTAIN project recently facilitated a shared learning session for Senior Principal Nursing Officers (SPNOs) and HTC focal persons from 12 hospitals. The two-day meeting aimed at sharing experiences and lessons learned from scaling up HTC services for adults and children, using the Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling (PITC)  method at hospitals over the past 12 months, and promoting the adoption and institutionalization of successful practices.

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Mother-Baby Pair Data Assessment

Activity date: November 18th to 30th, 2013

Assessment locations: Moroto, Soroti, Mbale, Lira, Gulu, Hoima, Fort Portal, Kabale, Mubende and Jinja Regional Referral Hospitals

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Human Resource Performance Improvement Activity Increases HIV Testing and Counseling Services, Health Worker Engagement at Public Health Facilities

Uganda’s health sector, like in many developing countries, has faced challenges related to staffing and human resources management that affect productivity and efficiency of service delivery. For the USAID SUSTAIN project, improving human resources and staff engagement directly translates into better service delivery for quality HIV/AIDS interventions.

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Short Text Message Platform Improves Availability of Medicines and Supplies at Public Health Facilities

Copy of SMS messageHospital staff at USAID SUSTAIN-supported healthcare facilities are finding the use of short text message (SMS) reminders effective in improving reporting and ordering for medicines and health supplies.

In Uganda, facilities receive hard copy order and delivery schedules from the National Medical Store (NMS) to enable them to track delivery dates, plan, and prepare medicine orders before...

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PEPFAR VMMC External Quality Assurance (EQA) visit to SUSTAIN-supported hospital

4th November 2013, Gulu, Uganda.

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Uganda Ministry of Health Recognizes SUSTAIN for Outstanding Contribution to Lab Sector

June 18, 2013 - The Uganda Ministry of Health (MOH) awarded USAID’s Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project a certificate of recognition for its outstanding performance and contribution to the country’s health laboratory sector.  This is the second award presented to SUSTAIN for the project’s contribution in laboratory medical service delivery. The first was the Khadil award, presented in March 2013 by the Uganda Medical Laboratory Technology Association.

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U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Visits the USAID Supported Arua Regional Referral Hospital

On 12th September 2013, the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Scott DeLisi visited Arua Regional Referral Hospital (RRH), a facility supported by USAID’s Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project. This trip was part of a larger visit to Arua district to learn more about U.S. Government engagement in the area.

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Hospital-based Provider Counseling and Testing Improves Access to HIV Testing and Counseling Services at Hospitals

Hospital-based provider initiated testing and counselling (PITC) is not entirely a new practice in Uganda. Unlike voluntary and diagnostic HIV counselling and testing methods, PITC integrates HIV counselling and testing into routine health care services at every service delivery point. Increasing the use of this approach, which has not been optimally utilized, will contribute to the Ministry of Health efforts to scale-up HIV counseling and testing services across the country. 

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Preventing HIV Infection in Uganda through Safe Male Circumcision

In April 2013, the USAID funded SUSTAIN program joined other partners in implementation of Safe Male Circumcision activities (SMC) to prevent HIV infection in Uganda. The program conducted two SMC trainings at Jinja (eastern) and Fort Portal (western) Regional Referral Hospitals to increase accessibility and uptake of SMC by training healthcare workers to carry out SMC services and mobilize communities. 

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Stop TB in My Lifetime: SUSTAIN Commemorates World Tuberculosis Day in Masaka District

The USAID-funded SUSTAIN project participated  in this year’s World Tuberculosis (TB) Day National commemorative event.   The theme for this year’s event was “Call for a World Free of TB” and used the promotional slogan “Stop TB in my Lifetime”.<--break->

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Uganda begins roll out of provider-initiated HIV testing

Irin (humanitarian news and analysis), January, 2013

The new strategy is part of efforts to lower Uganda's HIV prevalence, which climbed from 6.4 percent to 7.3 percent between 2006 and 2011. Studies have shown that beyond the benefits of having HIV-positive people identified and referred for treatment, provider-initiated counselling and testing may also result in less risky sexual behaviour, reducing levels of HIV transmission.

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World AIDS Day 2012: Combating Pediatric HIV in Uganda through the USAID SUSTAIN Project

By Kate Howell, Cordelia Katureebe, and Sara Riese. November, 2012

December 1st marks World AIDS Day.  URC supports HIV/AIDS projects in more than 20 countries worldwide. This story highlights one component of our work through the USAID Strengthening Uganda's Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project in Uganda.

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I did not know I had HIV until I was 14

NewVision, 27 September 2012

Nine percent of young people today living with HIV got it through mother-to-child transmission. For fear of stigma
many keep their status a secret.

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Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey Report 2011

20 September 2012

This report constitutes the latest, most comprehensive national HIV and AIDS information for Uganda. Information is wide ranging and includes data on HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours, patient care, and biomarker indicators. The survey results demonstrate both the strengths and challenges of Uganda’s response.

Find the complete document here

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