Today, Advocacy for Better Health is seeing the results of advocacy in action. In health centers across Uganda, maternity beds are arriving where there used to be only dirty mattresses on the floor. Lights are on where there was previously no electricity. New staff are being assigned to clinics as demand grows for modern health care. Money is being allocated for staff housing, operating theatres, and maternity wards.
We are also seeing policy change and increased resource allocation for critical health issues, such as HIV/AIDS; tuberculosis; reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health; nutrition; and malaria. For instance, Advocacy for Better Health and partners managed to prevent a national stockout of HIV and TB drugs by mobilizing citizens to advocate to the highest levels of government. Advocacy has also ensured that health centers not previously authorized to deliver HIV drugs can now do so.
Perhaps most importantly, relationships are improving between patients and health workers, and between communities and their leaders.
When citizens know their rights and responsibilities and hold duty-bearers accountable, change at all levels is possible.
Citizen-Led Advocacy: Stories from the Advocacy for Better Health Project in Uganda documents just some of Advocacy for Better Health’s successes at national and sub-national levels. It tells the stories of civil society organizations, advocacy champions, community members, service providers, and duty-bearers—and their role in advocating for improved health and social services across 35 districts in Uganda.