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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Assessing the implementation of performance management of health care workers in Uganda

George William Lutwama, Janetta Hendrika Roos* and Bethabile Lovely Dolamo

Author affiliations

Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, P.O. Box 392, Unisa 0003, South Africa

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Citation and License

BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:355  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-355

Published: 17 September 2013

Abstract

Background

The performance management concept is relatively new to the Ugandan health sector. Uganda has been implementing health sector reforms for nearly two decades. The reforms included the introduction of the results-oriented management in the public sector and the decentralisation of the management of health care workers from central to local governments. This study examined the implementation of performance management of health care workers in order to propose strategies for improvement.

Methods

The study was a descriptive survey carried out in the Kumi, Mbale, Sironko and Tororo districts and utilising mixed research methodology. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data from the health care workers. A semi-structured interview guide was used to collect qualitative data from the health service managers. The sample for the quantitative method was selected using stratified random sampling. Purposive sampling was used to select health service managers. Quantitative data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (version 18.0). Qualitative data were categorised according to the themes and analysed manually.

Results

The findings show that to some extent performance management is implemented in the health sector; however, there were loopholes in its implementation. There were inadequacies in setting performance targets and performance management planning was hardly done. Although many health care workers had job descriptions, the performance indicators and standards were not clearly defined and known to all workers and managers. Additionally the schedules for performance assessments were not always adhered to. There were limited prospects for career progression, inadequate performance feedback and poor rewarding mechanisms.

Conclusions

Performance management of health care workers is inadequately done in the districts. Performance management is a key component of attempts to improve health sector outcomes. As a result of this study, suggestions to enhance health sector performance management in the districts have been put forward. The authors are optimistic that if these suggestions are implemented, the performance of health care workers is likely to improve.

Keywords:
Health care workers; Performance management; Performance review; Performance measurement; Performance improvement