“If we want to increase access to healthcare for people around the world, we must go where the people are,” says Tracy Kobukindo, Last Mile Health’s Technical Advisor in Uganda.
A nurse and public health leader, Tracy brings a passion for community-driven development and a drive to create innovative sustainable health solutions in East Africa to her role at Last Mile Health.
She joined the small but mighty Uganda team in 2020, which is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health to strengthen Uganda’s health system and upskill community and frontline health workers to improve health service delivery. Tracy said that the biggest health challenges faced in Uganda are the lack of consistent, continuous training for health workers, especially community health workers, and the unavailability of COVID-19 preventive materials like personal protective equipment. In response, the Uganda team is currently collaborating with the Ministry of Health to provide COVID-19 training and education resources to health workers, through the MOH Capacity Building Application as well as in-person for those living in rural and remote communities with limited network, on topics like community education, disease surveillance, and COVID-19 vaccine administration. To ensure health workers can stay safe while continuing to provide home-based care, Tracy’s team also recently partnered with the Ministry of Health to distribute an estimated 482,000 pieces of personal protective equipment and response materials to over 3,000 community health workers and 66 health facilities in Bushenyi and Lira Districts.
Tracy’s daily motivation is knowing that all the work she does contributes to better health outcomes for many communities in Uganda, and beyond. “When I sit at my desk and co-design a course, or I review a slide deck on the COVID-19 vaccines, I know that this material is going to reach a health worker who will be able to serve a patient better because they have knowledge and skills. I also know the work I do is not only for Uganda, but offers lessons for other countries where Last Mile Health works – the potential for impact is high and the impact is big. Every meeting on zoom can be translated into action and improve the health outcome for other people.”
Prior to joining Last Mile Health, Tracy was named as a 40 under 40 influential leader in Uganda. She has worked on refugee programs, gender empowerment, and in numerous public health facilities in Uganda as a nurse, where she helped to set up health centers in hard-to-reach areas. Tracy is also a fierce advocate, amplifying the needs of nurses and midwives in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic through Think Tank, a local organization, and as the chief editor of the National Health Care Conferences Uganda, a blog dedicated to lifting up the nursing profession.
Tracy was honored to be appointed as a Regional Advisor for the Frontline Health Workers Coalition. As one of four Regional Advisors selected for the year, Tracy will help guide the organization’s health workforce policy and advocacy work. She is excited about this role, which began in July 2021, because it allows her to contribute to the development of health policy as well as meet and learn from dedicated people as part of the wider movement for health for all. As a Regional Advisor, she was invited to speak at a high-profile roundtable on health workforce at the Concordia Summit and at a side event at the UN General Assembly 2021.
Looking forward, Tracy is excited to work with the Uganda team to grow its partnership with the Ministry of Health and deepen their collective impact on rural and remote communities. She said, “In crisis, health systems can break down but communities knit together. We must keep investing in communities, during the pandemic and beyond.”