Publications by authors named "Aloysius Ssennyonjo"

7 Publications

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Momentum for policy change: alternative explanations for the increased interest in results-based financing in Uganda.

Glob Health Action 2021 Jan;14(1):1948672

School of Public Health, Makerere University.

Background: Results-based financing initiatives have been implemented in many countries as stand-alone projects but with little integration into national health systems. Results-based financing became more prominent in Uganda's health policy agenda in 2014-2015 in the context of the policy imperative to finance universal health coverage.

Objective: To explore plausible explanations for the increased policy interest in the scale-up of results-based financing in Uganda.

Methods: In this qualitative study, information was collected through key informant interviews, consultative meetings (2014 and 2015) and document reviews about agenda-setting processes. The conceptual framework for the analysis was derived from the work of Sabatier, Kingdon and Stone.

Results: Four alternative policy arguments can explain the scale-up of results-based financing in Uganda. They are: 1) external funding opportunities tied to results-based financing create incentives for adopting policies and plans; 2) increased expertise by Ministry of Health officials in the implementation of results-based financing schemes helps frame capacity accumulation arguments; 3) the national ownership argument is supported by increased desire for alignment and fit between results-based financing structures and legitimate institutions that manage the health system; and 4) the health systems argument is backed by evidence of the levers and constraints needed for sustainable performance. Shortages in medicines and workforce are key examples. Overall, the external funding argument was the most compelling.

Conclusion: The different explanations illustrate the strengths and the vulnerability of the results-based financing policy agenda in Uganda. In the short term, donor aid has been the main factor shifting the policy agenda in favour of results-based financing. The high cost of results-based financing is likely to slow implementation. If results-based financing is to find a good fit within the Ugandan health system, and other similar settings, then policy and action are needed to improve system readiness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2021.1948672DOI Listing
January 2021

Does decentralization of health systems translate into decentralization of authority? A decision space analysis of Ugandan healthcare facilities.

Health Policy Plan 2021 Jun 24. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 420 East Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

Since the 1990s, following similar reforms to its general politico-administrative systems, Uganda has decentralized its public healthcare system by shifting decision-making power away from its central Ministry of Health and towards more distal administrative levels. Previous research has used decision space-the decision-making autonomy demonstrated by entities in an administrative hierarchy-to measure overall health system decentralization. This study aimed to determine how the decision-making autonomy reported by managers of Ugandan healthcare facilities (de facto decision space) differs from that which they are allocated by official policies (de jure decision space). Additionally, it sought to determine associations between decision space and indicators of managerial performance. Using quantitative primary healthcare data from Ugandan healthcare facilities, our study determined the decision space expressed by facility managers and the performance of their facilities on measures of essential drug availability, quality improvement and performance management. We found managers reported greater facility-level autonomy than expected in disciplining staff compared with recruitment and promotion, suggesting that managerial functions that require less financial or logistical investment (i.e. discipline) may be more susceptible to differences in de jure and de facto decision space than those that necessitate greater investment (i.e. recruitment and promotion). Additionally, we found larger public health facilities expressed significantly greater facility-level autonomy in drug ordering compared with smaller facilities, which indicates ongoing changes in the Ugandan medical supply chain to a hybrid 'push-pull' system. Finally, we found increased decision space was significantly positively associated with some managerial performance indicators, such as essential drug availability, but not others, such as our performance management and quality improvement measures. We conclude that increasing managerial autonomy alone is not sufficient for improving overall health facility performance and that many factors, specific to individual managerial functions, mediate relationships between decision space and performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czab074DOI Listing
June 2021

Multisectoral action for health in low-income and middle-income settings: how can insights from social science theories inform intragovernmental coordination efforts?

BMJ Glob Health 2021 05;6(5)

School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy Planning and Management, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda.

There is consensus in global health on the need for multisectoral action (MSA) to address many contemporary development challenges, but there is limited action. Examples of issues that require coordinated MSA include the determinants of health conditions such as nutrition (malnutrition and obesity) and chronic non-communicable diseases. Nutrition, tobacco control and such public health issues are regulated separately by health, trade and treasury ministries. Those issues need to be coordinated around the same ends to avoid conflicting policies. Despite the need for MSA, why do we see little progress? We investigate the obstacles to and opportunities for MSA by providing a government perspective. This paper draws on four theoretical perspectives, namely (1) the political economy perspective, (2) principal-agent theory, (3) resource dependence theory and (4) transaction cost economics theory. The theoretical framework provides complementary propositions to understand, anticipate and prepare for the emergence and structuring of coordination arrangements between government organisations at the same or different hierarchical levels. The research on MSA for health in low/middle-income countries needs to be interested in a multitheory approach that considers several theoretical perspectives and the contextual factors underlying coordination practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004064DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8160194PMC
May 2021

Fitting Health Financing Reforms to Context: Examining the Evolution of Results-Based Financing Models and the Slow National Scale-Up in Uganda (2003-2015).

Glob Health Action 2021 01;14(1):1919393

Department of Health Policy Planning and Management, School of Public Health, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.

: Results-based financing has been promoted as an innovative mechanism to improve the performance of health systems in achieving universal health coverage. Several results-based financing models were implemented in Uganda between 2003 and 2015 but with limited national scale-up.: This paper examines the evolution of results-based financing models and the reasons for the slow national adoption and implementation in Uganda.: This was a qualitative study based on document review and key informant interviews. The models were compared to show modifications overtime. The reasons for the slow national scale-up were analyzed using variables from the Diffusion of Innovations Theory.: This study covered seven schemes implemented in the Ugandan health sector between 2003 and 2015. The models evolved in several aspects: 1) donor reliance with fundholding and purchasing delegated to non-state organizations; 2) establishment of ad-hoc structures for learning; 3) recent involvement of the government agencies in verification processes; 4) Involvement of public providers, and 5) expansion of services purchased from the national minimum health-care package. The main reasons for slow national adoption were the perceived complexity and incompatibility with public sector systems. The early phases comprised barriers to public sector reforms. However, recent adjustments to the schemes have enabled greater involvement of public providers and government stewardship. Stakeholders also reported progressive learning across projects and time.: Overall, the study findings show scheme actors' deliberate efforts to adapt their models to the Ugandan health system and public sector context. Results-based financing is a complex intervention that takes time for the capacity to be built among vital actors. Progressive re-designing of models enhances fitness to the health systems context. From this study, we advise that Uganda and similar countries should undertake deliberate efforts to customize such models to the capacity and institutional architecture of their health systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2021.1919393DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8118422PMC
January 2021

(How) does RBF strengthen strategic purchasing of health care? Comparing the experience of Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Glob Health Res Policy 2019 31;4. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

2School of Public Health, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.

Background: Results-Based Financing (RBF) has proliferated in health sectors of low and middle income countries, especially fragile and conflict-affected ones, and has been presented as a way of reforming and strengthening strategic purchasing. However, few studies have empirically examined how RBF impacts on health care purchasing in these settings. This article examines the effects of several RBF programmes on health care purchasing functions in three fragile and post-conflict settings: Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the past decade.

Methods: The article is based on a documentary review, including 110 documents from 2004 to 2018, and 98 key informant (KI) interviews conducted with international, national and district level stakeholders in early 2018 in the selected districts of the three countries. Interviews and analysis followed an adapted framework for strategic purchasing, which was also used to compare across the case studies.

Results: Across the cases, at the government level, we find little change to the accountability of purchasers, but RBF does mobilise additional resources to support entitlements. In relation to the population, RBF appears to bring in improvements in specifying and informing about entitlements for some services. However, the engagement and consultation with the population on their needs was found to be limited. In relation to providers, RBF did not impact in any major way on provider accreditation and selection, or on treatment guidelines. However, it did introduce a more contractual relationship for some providers and bring about (at least partial) improvements in provider payment systems, data quality, increased financial autonomy for primary providers and enforcing equitable strategies. More generally, RBF has been a source of much-needed revenue at primary care level in under-funded health systems. The context - particularly the degree of stability and authority of government-, the design of the RBF programme and the potential for effective integration of RBF in existing systems and its stage of development were key factors behind differences observed.

Conclusions: Our evidence suggests that expectations of RBF as an instrument of systemic reform should be nuanced, while focusing instead on expanding the key areas of potential gain and ensuring better integration and institutionalisation, towards which two of the three case study countries are working.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s41256-019-0094-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6354347PMC
January 2019

Government resource contributions to the private-not-for-profit sector in Uganda: evolution, adaptations and implications for universal health coverage.

Int J Equity Health 2018 10 5;17(1):130. Epub 2018 Oct 5.

Department of Health Policy, Planning and Management, Makerere University School of Public Health, P.O Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda.

Background: A case study was prepared examining government resource contributions (GRCs) to private-not-for-profit (PNFP) providers in Uganda. It focuses on Primary Health Care (PHC) grants to the largest non-profit provider network, the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB), from 1997 to 2015. The framework of complex adaptive systems was used to explain changes in resource contributions and the relationship between the Government and UCMB.

Methods: Documents and key informant interviews with the important actors provided the main sources of qualitative data. Trends for GRCs and service outputs for the study period were constructed from existing databases used to monitor service inputs and outputs. The case study's findings were validated during two meetings with a broad set of stakeholders.

Results: Three major phases were identified in the evolution of GRCs and the relationship between the Government and UCMB: 1) Initiation, 2) Rapid increase in GRCs, and 3) Declining GRCs. The main factors affecting the relationship's evolution were: 1) Financial deficits at PNFP facilities, 2) advocacy by PNFP network leaders, 3) changes in the government financial resource envelope, 4) variations in the "good will" of government actors, and 5) changes in donor funding modalities. Responses to the above dynamics included changes in user fees, operational costs of PNFPs, and government expectations of UCMB. Quantitative findings showed a progressive increase in service outputs despite the declining value of GRCs during the study period.

Conclusions: GRCs in Uganda have evolved influenced by various factors and the complex interactions between government and PNFPs. The Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda should pay attention to these factors and their interactions when shaping how governments work with PNFPs to advance UHC. GRCs could be leveraged to mitigate the financial burden on communities served by PNFPs. Governments seeking to advance UHC goals should explore policies to expand GRCs and other modalities to subsidize the operational costs of PNFPs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0843-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6172798PMC
October 2018
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