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Hum Resour Health. 2013 Mar 22;11:13. doi: 10.1186/1478-4491-11-13.

Aspirations for quality health care in Uganda: How do we get there?

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  • 1Department of Global Health & Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SH, UK.



Despite significant investments and reforms, health care remains poor for many in Africa. To design an intervention to improve access and quality of health care at health facilities in eastern Uganda, we aimed to understand local priorities for qualities in health care, and factors that enable or prevent these qualities from being enacted.


In 2009 to 2010, we carried out 69 in-depth interviews and 6 focus group discussions with 65 health workers at 17 health facilities, and 10 focus group discussions with 113 community members in Tororo District, Uganda.


Health-care workers and seekers valued technical, interpersonal and resource qualities in their aspirations for health care. However, such qualities were frequently not enacted, and our analysis suggests that meeting aspirations required social and financial resources to negotiate various power structures.


We argue that achieving aspirations for qualities valued in health care will require a genuine reorientation of focus by health workers and their managers toward patients, through renewed respect and support for these providers as professionals.

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