The ‘Supporting Policy Engagement for Evidence -based Decisions (SPEED) for Universal Health Coverage in Uganda’ Principal Investigator Associate Professor Freddie Ssengooba has encouraged members of staff and students at Makerere University School of Public Health to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the SPEED initiative, including studies and mentorship. He said courses will also be organized to equip the faculty at the School of Public Health with skills in policy analysis, policy influence and advice. One such course is Political Economy of Health Policy and Decision-making.
At a lunch time seminar he delivered at the School on 1st April 2015, Prof. Ssengooba pointed out two key aspects of policy that SPEED will focus on; generation of evidence that fits the needs on the ground and ensuring that implemented policy translates into required benefits by monitoring its implementation and providing feedback to policymakers and implementers.
He said as the MDGs era comes to its deadline, as Uganda there is mixed results in all areas with some areas like HIV recording reversal in earlier achieved results, maternal mortality remaining stagnant and lack of investment in components that support coverage like system strengthening.
Questions from the seminar participants focused on poverty and inequalities that make access to services imbalanced, how the project will effectively bring together stakeholders to deliberate and agree on shared vision for universal health coverage, how to implement the planned courses and the volume of funds for the planned studies. Other questions focused on whether the project will consider mentorship of the policymakers, what the priority policy issues will be, and how donors (who fund most of the development work in Uganda) will be involved in the project implementation.
To sum up the seminar discussion, SPEED is trying to position the problems (health policy) in a manner that they can get a solution.