Introducing quality management into primary health care services in Uganda

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In 1994, a national quality assurance programme was established in Uganda to strengthen district-level management of primary health care services. Within 18 months both objective and subjective improvements in the quality of services had been observed. In the examples documented here, there was a major reduction in maternal mortality among pregnant women referred to Jinja District Hospital, a reduction in waiting times and increased patient satisfaction at Masaka District Hospital, and a marked reduction in reported cases of measles in Arua District. Beyond these quantitative improvements, increased morale of district health team members, improved satisfaction among patients, and greater involvement of local government in the decisions of district health committees have been observed. At the central level, the increased coordination of activities has led to new guidelines for financial management and the procurement of supplies. District quality management workshops followed up by regular support visits from the Ministry of Health headquarters have led to a greater understanding by central staff of the issues faced at the district level. The quality assurance programme has also fostered improved coordination among national disease-control programmes. Difficulties encountered at the central level have included delays in carrying out district support visits and the failure to provide appropriate support. At the district level, some health teams tackled problems over which they had little control or which were overly complex; others lacked the management capacity for problem solving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-161
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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