Poor Understanding of Health Promotion Related to Underdeployment of Qualified Health Promoters in Uganda
Health promotion is a relatively new field in the health sector. Having been born as a result of observed weaknesses in the implementation of primary health care (PHC) strategies, it has been slow to pick up in many countries. In Uganda, the Faculty of Health Sciences of Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) picked up the challenge of training health workers in the field of health promotion. Over 100 health workers have qualified in health promotion since 2004. This study meant to follow up the graduates of the programme to see what they are actually doing in the field, to see how their current work is related to health promotion, to see how they perceive their work and to identify the challenges they face in executing health promotion duties. It found that most of them are not in health promotion activities because they have been deployed in clinical services. They attributed this to shortage of clinical staff in health services as well as lack of knowledge of the scope and role of health promotion by the other health workers and, especially, the policy makers and those responsible for staff deployment. The work environment of the graduates is not favourable for the expansion of health promotion activities because of the poor understanding of the field. There are no resources allocated for health promotion, apart from health education campaigns, and many positions are vacant at all levels of the health system. The graduates are isolated from each other and do not receive updated information about the field. The paper recommends sensitisation of all stakeholders of health promotion, formation of a professional association and increased facilitation for health promotion activities, among others.