The following broad achievements were identified from the implementation of the previous strategic plan 2007-2011:
a) Development of the Patients’ Charter
UNHCO spearheaded the formulation of a Patient’s Charter for Uganda which provides an overall framework for empowerment of health consumers to demand for high quality healthcare and promote accountability in the health sector. The charter was adopted by the MOH and it is being implemented in the health sector. The Patients Charter clearly defines the relationship between duty bearers and right holders hence facilitating health consumers’ contribution to the development of a healthcare system that responds to their needs. Once translated into local languages and disseminated countrywide, this Charter will contribute to citizen’s ownership of health services and improvement of both health-worker and health-consumer appreciation of their rights and responsibilities.
b) Influenced formulation of health policies and programs
As the platform for health consumers countrywide, UNHCO represents health rights focused Civil Society organisations at various strategic levels including the Health Policy Advisory Committee (HPAC), Maternal and Child Health Working Group (MCHWG) and National Health Insurance (NHI) task force. Besides influencing the development and approval of the patients’ charter by the MOH, UNHCO’s strategic positioning has enabled it contribute to the formulation of the National Health Policy II, Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan 2010/11-2014/15, the Public Private Partnership in Health (PPPH) policy, and development of a manual on Health, Human Rights and Gender.
Furthermore, UNHCO and 50 other CSOs lodged a landmark petition (Petition 16) to the constitutional court, which if successful would compel government to recognise the right to health and compensate deaths responsibility by government. The CSOs, under the maternal health coalition coordinated by UNHCO, are jointly advocating for improvement of maternal health services.
c) Provided Leadership for health focused Advocacy CSOs- the Voices for Health Rights (VHR) Coalition
UNHCO coordinates and hosts a coalition of 30 CSOs on Voices for Health Rights (VHRs). The coalition has rallied a critical mass of CSOs to champion advocacy for the right to health. The added value from this coalition is harmonization of CSO efforts, improved coordination with sector players and consolidation of capacities resident in the member organisations. UNHCO is deeply involved in the coordination of civil society organizations in health to commemorate the Health Rights Day (7th December) held during the annual Human rights week. This is to raise public awareness on the right to health.
d) Increased membership in national and international health related networks and fora
UNHCO is a member of international networks like IAPO and RATN. In the last few years, the organisation has developed partnerships with the World Bank, European Union and WHO to promote the rights based approach in healthcare delivery as well as monitor and provide feedback to decision-makers and service providers on the effective delivery of health services in Uganda. UNHCO is highly recognised at national and international level by reputable organisations partners including Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation, Sida, Cordaid, DfID and the World Bank as a lead advocacy organisation for the right to health. UNHCO is the current lead CSO for social accountability platform (health) hosted by the Uganda National NGO Forum.
e) Increased awareness on health rights and health policies at community level
UNHCO’s work has contributed to increased awareness of the rights and responsibilities of healthcare consumers and those of healthcare providers and policy makers at both national and district levels. This has been through regular sensitisation of local communities and health providers on major aspects of the National Health Policy in relation to the rights based approach as well as fostering dialogue between consumers and providers to create a solid partnership for a common goal. However, country wide awareness remains a challenge.