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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Key Aspects of Health Policy Development to Improve Surgical Services in Uganda

  • Author(s): Luboga, Sam
  • Galukande, Moses
  • Mabweijano, Jacqueline
  • Ozgediz, Doruk
  • Jayaraman, Sudha
  • et al.

Recently, surgical services have been gaining greater attention as an integral part of public health in low-income countries due to the significant volume and burden of surgical conditions, growing evidence of the cost-effectiveness of surgical intervention, and global disparities in surgical care. Nonetheless, there has been limited discussion of the key aspects of health policy related to surgical services in low-income countries. Uganda, like other low-income sub-Saharan African countries, bears a heavy burden of surgical conditions with low surgical output in health facilities and significant unmet need for surgical care. To address this lack of adequate surgical services in Uganda, a diverse group of local stakeholders met in Kampala, Uganda, in May 2008 to develop a roadmap of key policy actions that would improve surgical services at the national level. The group identified a list of health policy priorities to improve surgical services in Uganda. The priorities were classified into three areas: (1) human resources, (2) health systems, and (3) research and advocacy. This article is a critical discussion of these health policy priorities with references to recent literature. This was the first such multidisciplinary meeting in Uganda with a focus on surgical services and its output may have relevance to health policy development in other low-income countries planning to improve delivery of surgical services.

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