Learning in Action

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Peter Muganga (Photo: Julius Kasujja)

Peter Muganga

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Peter Muganga is the head of Internal Audit for Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU), the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) member association that is responsible for delivering essential sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning services, in Uganda.

Peter has worked at RHU for nearly nine years and over that time he has been an engaged participant in RHU’s partnership with the USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project. Whether participating in the Leadership Development Program Plus (LDP+), the financial capacity building program and NUPAS survey training, the Business Planning for Health training, or the Communication and Coaching Skills Program, Peter describes the collaboration as both “performance improvement in operations, but also capacity building.”

Oftentimes clinical training takes precedence over leadership and management skills for health workers even though they are important in delivery of health services. Ahead of the first LDP+ training, Peter notes that “when it came, we did not think at the time of the training, that we were going to get a powerful program that can directly impact our operations.” However, reflecting on LDP+, Peter said, “...the more we appreciated the concepts and application of those models within the program, and also related them to what we do, we found good use of most of the models and concepts.”

Many RHU branch locations receive a higher client load when providing community outreach services. When the RHU branch in Mbale began offering delivery services for pregnant mothers, they noticed that mothers would come to the clinic to receive a pregnancy test, they would return for pre-natal care, and they would deliver at the facility. But the clinic did not provide immunizations, so mothers were not getting their children immunized.

Recognizing this gap in health service and building on the practices learned during LDP+, the team at RHU-Mbale took ownership over their vision to provide immunizations in their community and they created an action plan to become qualified. “You go to the district health office, apply, they come and inspect, before they give you permission and access to the vaccines.”

Peter explains what he saw when returning to Mbale after three months, “I saw a line of mothers that were being served under a tent, who had come with their children for immunizations, but most of them were not actually mothers that we had delivered in the clinic, they were mothers from the surrounding community.”

The Mbale branch’s success is only one example from RHU’s 17 branches across Uganda. Similar stories can be shared from every corner of the country from Gulu, Kapchorwa, Lira, Mbarara, and more. RHU has fully embraced the LDP+ and rolled out leadership and management training for staff in 11 branches. They went even further, facilitating a LDP+ training of trainers for IPPF member association staff in Malawi and Tanzania. Being clinically proficient is important for health workers, but as Peter and RHU recognize, leadership skills, like “critical reflection… is very powerful to finding realistic solutions.”