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. The training equipped participating staff with knowledge, specialized skills and competencies required to manage the diverse health needs of people aged 10 to 19 years (adolescents). A joint assessment carried out by USAID/SUSTAIN and Ministry of Health in November 2015 at the six hospitals revealed that an average of five healthcare providers per hospital, were competent on managing adolescent health. Tandem with the World Health Organization’s call for the world’s adolescents, the training exercise is part of the renewed attention to equip healthcare providers with the necessary capacity towards a universal health coverage for adolescents.

Participants at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital engage in an exercise during a training break. Photo credit. (@URC 2015 USAID/SUSTAIN /Bernadeta M. Nagita

From providing health education, to managing HIV, sexual and reproductive health, mental and nutrition-related disorders, and provision of life skills and career guidance, the training equipped participants with skills in communication, tailoring management approaches that are sensitive to adolescent development, and the interdisciplinary care appropriate to individual adolescents.

The training as helped me understand risky behaviors among adolescents, and how to deal with them when managing their health.” Mugala Christine, a Nursing Officer at Mbale RRH.
Additionally, USAID/SUSTAIN oriented healthcare workers on the clinical practice laws and policies that promote, protect and fulfill adolescents’ right to health.
Participants discuss and record the importance of peer support to adolescent health. Photo credit; (@URC 2015 USAID/SUSTAIN /Bernadeta M. Nagita

Towards establishing adolescent friendly healthcare centers at Mbale, Gulu, Lira, Moroto, Kabale and Jinja regional referral hospitals, USAID/SUSTAIN is continuing to work with the Uganda Ministry of Health to allocate space for adolescents, provide information, reporting tools, and education materials and ensure continuous mentoring and coaching of health workers for effective service delivery. The overall goal is to make the six hospitals model centres where other referral hospitals and lower level healthcare facilities can learn provision of adolescent friendly healthcare services.

Written by Bernadeta M. Nagita,  Executive and Communications Officer, USAID/SUSTAIN Project