Citizen monitoring increases availability of anti-malarial drug in Lira


In Uganda, the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) worked intensively over the past five years to promote citizen engagement in monitoring the delivery of health and education services and the use of decentralized development funds. PTF partner civil society organizations (CSOs) have tracked the distribution of anti-malaria drugs and used SMS systems to monitor the procurement of rural farmland.

In 2011-2012, PTF funded and advised a project in Uganda’s Lira district aimed at reducing the leakage of malaria medicines by monitoring of their supply from the National Medical Stores to the target health centers. With support from PTF, Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) trained a cohort of local women to act as independent monitors that ventured out into communities to interview citizens and identify grievances related to unavailability of medicines, which ACCU then brought before government duty bearers for redress.

A post-project evaluation found that 12 months after the project began, anti-malaria drug availability had improved. The work of these local monitors empowered the community to become involved in exploring the leakage of government drugs, resulting in many Lira communities now proactively monitoring drug supply and dispensation. Furthermore, the work of the monitors and their interaction with community members has helped bridge the gap of understanding between health workers and the community.

However, these grass-roots programs have had an inevitably limited impact through a labor-intensive approach. That’s where Citizens Action Platform (CAP) comes in - it utilizes information and communications technology to amplify the voice of citizens and empower them to confront corruption on a much larger scale. By using this website, SMS, voicemail, and geo-mapping tools, citizens can provide powerful information to policy makers and the media to begin to bring reform.

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