Perspectives on External Support to Low Level Private Health Facilities in Management of Childhood Infections in Mbarara District, Uganda: A Qualitative Study With Health Workers and Policy Makers
Nakayaga Kalyango, Joan
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With the under-five child mortality rate of 46.4 deaths per 1000 live births, Uganda needs to accelerate measures to reduce child deaths in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 3. While 60-70 % of frontline health services are provided by the private sector, many low level private health facilities are unregistered, unregulated, and often miss out on innovative strategies rolled out by the Ministry of Health. Low level private health facilities need support in order to provide quality health care. We explored the perspectives of health workers and policy makers on external support given to low level private clinics providing health care for children. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted from May to December 2019 with 43 purposively selected key informants. They included 30 health care professionals treating children in low level private clinics and 13 policy makers from Mbarara district and the Uganda Ministry of Health directly involved with ensuring quality of child health. The issues discussed included their views on the quantity, quality, factors determining support received and preferred modalities of support to low level private health facilities. Using an inductive approach, interview transcripts were coded to identify categories and themes. Results: We identified three themes which emerged from the data 1) External support is needed to address socio-economic, regulatory and knowledge gap issues, 2) Current support is not optimal, and, 3) Ideal support underscores working together. While the Ministry of Health recognises its’ responsibility to provide support and guidance to public and private health facilities, it acknowledges lack of support for low level private health facilities currently. Health providers emphasised technical capacity building and more supportive supervisory visits but not simply policing and apportioning blame. Conclusion: The current support being given to low level private health facilities (LLPHF) is inadequate. The support needs to be tailored to the needs of the facility and health facilities have to proactively ask for support. Capacity building with emphasis on training and supportive supervision are key strategies for providing external support to LLPHF.
- Medical and Health Sciences