The LDP+ is a Necessity for All

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Reproductive Health Uganda (Photo: Julius Kasujja)

Reproductive Health Uganda

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For thousands of Ugandans, Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) is a lifeline to essential family planning and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, laboratory diagnostic services, and postabortion care.

Since 1957, RHU has grown consistently, but like many other organizations, success has varied across the branches. While some branches excel at service delivery and increasing patient access, others face difficulties like low client loads, continual stock outs, or internal staff conflicts.

As a Member Association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), RHU staff were introduced to the Leadership Development Program Plus (LDP+), a training led by the Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project. The LDP+ is a team-based, results-oriented, participatory leadership development process that enables teams to face challenges and achieve results through a process of action-based learning. Individuals from the same workplace form teams to learn and apply leadership, management, and governance practices to improve a common challenge in their workplace.

The LMG Project and RHU first piloted the LDP+ in five branches, and Jackson Chekweko, RHU Executive Director, was proud to highlight successes from the transformation. The RHU Kapchorwa branch, for example, was one of the worst performing branches, where it had poor performance in terms of service statistics, participant rate, and cost recovery, despite having similar staffing levels, programs, and support. However, applying the skills learned through the LDP+, the branch has seen tremendous improvements. During the training, the team identified poor performance and service statistics as their challenge; they applied the challenge model, developed a vision, and created an action plan. Six months later, the team had made such a great improvement in performance and service statistics that they were promoted as a success story at the International Conference of Family Planning.

Another RHU branch had a similar transformation after the LDP+, where the team identified stockouts as their main challenge. Reflecting on the partnership, Jackson described their transformation: “After the LDP+, there had been a complete shift, right now it is one of the most stocked facilities and they are even receiving products from the local government, which is very fantastic. It is now one of the top performing clinics in RHU in terms of service statistics, cost recovery, and innovations, it is wonderful.”

Robinah Konde Nambooze, RHU Governance and Human Resource Manager, saw similar improvements at another RHU branch that suffered from low client load due to interpersonal conflicts among staff. Recognizing this issue during the LDP+ training, the team set their desirable measureable result and created a workplan to improve the work climate. Every team member took on a role and were dedicated to improve interpersonal communications as a way to improve service delivery. Ultimately conflicts lessened, teamwork was strengthened, and the branch began to show immediate improvement.

Success following the LDP+ is widely recognized, and it has now been rolled out to almost all of RHU’s 17 branches. Jackson Chekweko has described the impact of the LDP+ by saying: “There was a tremendous growth in those branches, because the LDP+ operates on a principle of self-reflection, it links what you are doing to the mission to develop your vision, where you want to go, and then you come up with strategies of how to overcome your challenges and it builds ownership. So by doing that, there was a new energy in the branches and a proactive way of solving their own problems.”

Robinah has proclaimed that: “The impact LDP+ has done within our service delivery units is to increase the number of clients turning up for SRH services.” She said that: “It is a necessity for all,” and that the LDP+ is something that the management of RHU and service providers are embracing because it solves negative situations in health facilities and makes them into exemplars of strong SRH service delivery.

The LDP+ imparts the skills for people to do something about their challenges by using the resources at their disposal, and that their sphere of influence extends farther than what senior management tells them to do. The LDP+ inspires people to take leadership roles, and to become leaders in their communities by applying their newfound skills and confidence to overcome challenges.