The Monitoring and Evaluation (METS) Project under the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) was launched one year into its off set. This calculated move was to enable the operationalization team to cement the fact that the Program was several steps in the right direction in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The well attended launch was officiated by Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister of Health on 15th April 2016 at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
MakSPH was funded by President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-USA through the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) to implement a five-year Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS) program in Uganda. The five-year program (2015-2020) seeks to promote evidence-based decision-making for an AIDS free generation by supporting the alignment of the USG supported Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting systems with the national M&E framework resulting into a fully functional one M&E system. The Program will work to strengthen capabilities of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and District Health Teams (DHTS) to conduct Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of the HIV program, strengthen District Led (HIV) Programming (DLP); conduct Population Case-Based Surveillance, and strengthen the Ministry of Health (MOH) – owned National Health Management Information System (HMIS).
In his remarks, the Principal Investigator Professor William Bazeyo noted that this was a promising effort that needed continued support. He strongly pointed out that with the necessary support from the various stakeholders, the Program would not fail in their efforts towards the fight against HIV in Uganda. He thanked the CDC for their continued support towards HIV and AIDS and specifically to METS. He further noted that the Makerere University School of Public Health was well place and equipped to manage the task at hand. This he based on the fact that MakSPH was able to win a competitive grant worth $35 million to help strengthen Monitoring and Evaluation, disease surveillance, strengthening the capabilities of District Health Teams in order to manage the HIV response.
The Director General of Health Services, Dr. Ruth Aceng noted that Uganda had made significant progress in strengthening national M&E systems to be able to provide information for the national Public Health Response through dialogue and advocacy. She lay emphasis on the need for good information generated by M&E systems and programs because it is critical in promoting efficiency of public health programs. She noted that the Ministry of Health had harmonized reporting through the national HMIS and DHIS2 System and all stakeholders were being urged to contribute towards strengthening this ‘one national reporting system’ and use the system to track progress in the health outcomes. She applauded METS’ efforts to improve the quality of the data collected as this was a challenge that was likely to stunt the purpose of data collection. She pledged the Ministry’s continued support of such projects.
Dr. Steven Wiersma, the CDC-Uganda Country Director in particular appreciated the use of the Case Based Surveillance strategy which would go a long way to track the epidemic in the Country. He further appreciated the real time monitoring of Mother-Child Transmission data which is collected from live feeds hence enabling easy tracking and monitoring. He noted that the CDC had approved additional funding for this particular project.
The Minister of Health Dr. Tumwesigye commended the use of the finger print technology to capture data of persons on ARVs as this innovation gives the M&E efforts an edge. This, he said, is because the data for; those on medication; where patients are getting treatment, how long they had been on the treatment among other advantages; will go a long way in stream lining the available information about persons living with HIV/AIDS. Additional advantages of the alignment of data for HIV is that more victims will be able to access treatment and the Medical stores would reliably give accountability of the provided drugs. He hoped that these efforts and the lessons learned would then be linked to the government system which has a unique identifier – the National Identification Number (NIN). He visualized that when these efforts were to be harmonized, Uganda would be able to characterize the HIV epidemic in real terms – real numbers without duplicates; and therefore be able to track clients using the available technologies.
During the launch, the iMAP mobile based application was launched. The app will capture GPS coordinates for both District Health Offices, Headquarters and the available health facilities in Uganda hence being able to create a directory for all health facilities in the country.
Article by METS Communication Office