A health worker at in hopsital ward. Photo by IntraHealth

Health workers getting paid for work done is here to stay

Since it’s inception as a pilot programme in a number of districts in 2010, the performance-based financing scheme, the MoH has received positive feedback with every phase of implimentation rolled-out of the programme that it has since then gained more and more momentum.

The scheme is on course to become standard practice for the health sector in Uganda.

The MoH for along time has been keen on improving the quality of service offered at it’s public health facilities. It has equally been a subject of intense public discussion and numerous research studies.

At one point compelling the President to make imprompt visits at various health facilities, notably a health centre in Wakiso district that led to the suspension of almost all the health workers attached to the facility.

Under the performance-based financing scheme, health workers are paid according to their performance, or to put it simply according to the work performed within a given period of time. Mrs Elizabeth Ekirapa, a health economist elaborately explains it here.

In order for the performance of the overall health sector to improve, government has identified as important, that health workers be present at work in order for patients to receive appropriate care.

In 2010, the rate of absenteeism among health workers in public facilites in Uganda was at 50%. Most of whom were on unapproved.

This led the government to introduce the biometric monitoring system that is currently present in all 14 regional referral hospitals.

Where the system is in use, impressive results have been recorded.

Dr David Muwanguzi, Iganga district’s District Health Officer confirmed in a June interview, with the daily monitor, that 20 health workers had gone without pay for being absent.

Others had been struck off the government payroll. The machines were introduced to the district in 2014.

Already IntraHealth says the rate of absenteeism has dropped from highs of 50% (in 2015) to 11.9% (in 2017) due to the monitoring systems that were rolled out to 4,507 facilities in 116 districts. As of 2017, unapproved absences had fallen by 62%.

The biometric monitoring systems are set to be normal feature in Uganda’s public health facilities, and with it pay for the work done will be improved. It is safe to say: A new dawn has awakened.

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