HEPS-Uganda is a Health Consumers’ Organisation advocating for health rights and responsibilities. The organisation is a coalition of health consumers, health advocates, health practitioners, Civil Society Organisations and Community Based Organisations.
HEPS-Uganda was established as a not-for profit-organisation in 1999 out of concern for the lack of attention for health consumers in the country. HEPS stated its founding mission and guiding principles in the first strategic planning meeting in 2000. An office with a functional secretariat was opened in the same year. Initially, HEPS focused solely on Health Policy Advocacy. Subsequently, after conducting several advocacy activities on its own, the organisation started the Ugandan Coalition for Access to Essential Medicines in 2002. Members of the coalition include mainly national and international health CSOs and NGOs. The purpose of the coalition is to advocate for better healthcare through combined efforts. To this end, HEPS and the coalition started a constructive dialogue with the government of Uganda, (the Ministry of Health)
Besides these Health Policy Advocacy activities, HEPS started a Community Empowerment programme in 2001. Outreach has been focusing on education with regard to health rights and responsibilities in rural communities in Uganda. Educating communities about health rights and responsibilities is aimed at ensuring that people make informed choices about health.
HEPS vision: “A just and fair society in which all Ugandans can exercise their health rights and health responsibilities.”
HEPS Mission: “To enable more Ugandans to access equitable health services through empowering communities and lobbying for a health system that meets the needs of Ugandans.”
HEPS is concerned about bottlenecks that hinder access to quality healthcare for the majority of Ugandans. The position of the organisation is that more preventive and curative means are necessary and that they should be designed from a health consumer’s perspective.
HEPS Uganda’s distinctive contribution to the health in Uganda is organised in 3 strategic programmes: Community Empowerment, Health Policy Advocacy and Systems Strengthening. Each of these programmes works towards the benefit of the Uganda health consumer.