Uganda: New Public-Private Partnership Helps Ugandan Health Care Professionals and their Families (November 2008)

The U.S. President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) recently announced a three year, public-private partnership valued at $1.25 million to establish a new Wellness Center for Health Care Workers® in Uganda. Located in Kampala and managed by the Uganda National Association of Nurses and Midwives (UNANM), the Center will work to strengthen the health care system and address the health worker shortage by offering health and support services for health care professionals and their families.

Currently Uganda has just 29,000 health care workers to serve its population of 30 million. Due to this shortage of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, these dedicated professionals are particularly vulnerable to the impact of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria. They also regularly encounter difficulties when trying to access the same services that they routinely perform for others.

The Wellness Center hopes to change that.

“Health care workers are the foundation of a health system,” said Gary Cohen, BD Executive Vice President. “By addressing the fundamental needs of health care workers, such as protecting them from occupational hazards and providing medical treatment when needed, Wellness Centers strengthen a country’s capacity to serve patients”

PEPFAR and BD will support the operation of the Wellness Center for its first three years before turning over ownership to the Ugandan Ministry of Health in 2011. BD, ICN and PEPFAR will collaborate with each other, as well as with UNANM and the Ugandan government, to ensure the sustainability of the Center.

“The Wellness Center for Health Care Workers is an essential resource. It will tackle the many barriers to health and wellness services which health workers face,” said Hiroko Minami, President of the ICN.

Uganda is the fourth country in which BD, ICN and PEPFAR have worked together to build Wellness Centers. Their facilities are also located in Swaziland, Lesotho and Zambia.

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