Health services in Uganda are provided through public, private for profit and civil society organizations / community-based organizations. FBOs are part of this multi-partner health care service delivery system, providing close to 50% of health services in the country. Additionally, IRCU coordinates a large network of various FBO health providers delivering different health services with different competencies.  Since no single organization provides all these services, IRCU develops linkages between and among the various providers to enhance synergies and resource utilization.  At the same time IRCU ensures that individuals, families and communities are aware of the existence of health care services so that they access and utilize them through various platforms. Over the years, IRCU has supported delivery of health services, integrated SRH/HIV/GBV interventions through its member bodies, community based FBOs and health institutions reaching several individuals.  To increase access to and utilization of   health services, IRCU has strengthened linkages between health facilities, community organizations and families.  Religious leaders and their networks are instrumental in ensuring accessibility and utilization of health services within the continuum of care, and has further harnessed these networks and structures for increased mobilization and referral of communities for health services.  Linkages between facility-based and community-based care have been found essential to add quality, value, ownership and effectiveness resulting in improved services.

Departmental Profile and Mandate

The department of Public Health and Social measures contributes to ensuring the realization of a healthy nation of IRCU’s broader agenda of the Uganda we want.  To achieve this goal calls for interpretation of health in a holistic manner and delivered through interfaith action and collaboration, advocating for the empowerment of member bodies for the common good. This includes mobilizing and enhancing the capacity of religious leaders to create awareness on available services, promote healthy life styles (Sanitation, nutrition, clean environment, health insurance, epidemics etc) and demand for health services.  To ensure holistic human development, IRCU builds essential and strategic partnerships for complimentary and wrap around services.  Therefore, the department guides the Secretariate on the efficient management/coordination/implementation of public health and social measures interventions while working with and through IRCU member bodies, development partners and government of Uganda.


Core Functions of the Department

The Core Functions of the department include the following:

  1. Develop, implement, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the IRCU’s Public Health and social measures interventions around the promotion of health and wellbeing of communities.
  2. Plan, facilitate research, develop and monitor the implementation of strategies on public health and social measures interventions such as vaccination/immunization, SRH, HIV and AIDS, WASH, blood donations etc
  3. Plan, set benchmarks and monitor the implementation of health and wellbeing promotion through periodic community health education and social norm change.

Current Programs

Strengthening and integrating SRH/HIV/GBV

Since 2016 to-date, IRCU has been implementing the Government of Uganda UNFPA country programmes whose mission is aimed at Delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled

Sexual & Reproductive Health

At IRCU, we empower women and girls with knowledge to take control of their own sexual and reproductive health, working with and through our member bodies.  We utilize leadership endorsed pastoral letters around various SRH/HIV/GBV themes for community social mobilization.


In Uganda, HIV is persistent but so are we. We are working with various partners to end the HIV epidemic as a public health threat by advocating for new tools and approaches that optimize quality, choice, and convenience; engaging a range of public, private and civil society providers to deliver integrated HIV and health services and driving equitable access to person-centered services for people living with HIV, their families, peers, and communities.

When HIV emerged in the 1980s, health systems struggled under the pressure of the new and rapidly spreading virus. The global response to HIV inspired a generation of public health professionals who have gone on to make incredible progress against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and other diseases.  But, as COVID-19 has painfully reminded us, the gains of past decades can be easily disrupted. To promote more resilient and equitable health services, we must rethink how we approach public health.


With support from UNICEF, IRCU will reactivate and facilitate further consultations among key stakeholders to contribute to building consensus within the faith community, parents, cultural leaders and teachers on the National Sexuality Education Framework leading to a nationally acceptable framework.  These consultations will contribute to advocacy and influencing the revision of the current Sexuality Education framework that has been rejected by religious leaders.

Uganda AIDS Commission

As a representative of the faith-based constituency, IRCU is coordinating the implementation of the National HIV & AIDS action plan of the Faith sector in Uganda aligned to the national strategic plan.  The development of this action plan was informed by recommendations for the UNAIDS-PEPFAR faith initiative “Harnessing the power of partnerships”.  This plan is therefore intended to strengthen the multi-sectoral response to HIV.  It provides guidance on the development of interfaith partnerships and collaborations to challenges SSDDIM, which leads to new HIV infections.  Additionally, IRCU is also a member of the various TWGs, steering committee and Message clearing committee. 

Epidemic Preparedness

The Secretariat helps build strong faith-based response systems as well as enhancing the capacity of religious leaders on prevention, detection and referral during disease outbreaks before they can become epidemics or pandemics.  During the outbreaks of COVID-19 and Ebola, IRCU partnered with the government of Uganda and partners to mount a response and support the community mobilization pillar of the Ministry of Health. 

Potential future Partnerships for Public Health and Social Measures
1. Closing the immunization gap- GAVI

Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization (UNEPI) has organized a stakeholders’ consultative writing workshop in Kampala of the HSS3 proposal to GAVI from Tuesday 17th to Wednesday 18th January 2023.  The HSS3 proposal will be focusing on supporting Uganda to reduce zero-dose, missed and under immunized children as guided by the 2030 Immunization Agenda of leaving no one behind and GAVI’s 5.0 strategy and will be well aligned with the National Immunization Strategy (NIS).  The major deliverable for this engagement is a refined situation analysis and a theory of change.

Preventing malaria

IRCU plans to work with Ministry of Health to improve malaria prevention, treatment, and control to decrease the number of deaths from the disease. This partnership will focus on expanding coverage and use of insecticide treated bed nets (LLITNs), particularly among vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children under 5 years of age


Access to good health too often depends on where we were born, our race, gender, ethnicity, age, class, and other factors. The scope of our work is therefore vast, because that’s what it takes to tackle health challenges caused by complex systemic inequities.  Furthermore, the health challenges facing people and communities are broad and complex.  Good health opens doors to education and economic opportunity for individuals and families. It strengthens communities and is the foundation of a safer, more just, and more prosperous Uganda for all of us. It moves humanity forward.

But we know that barriers to health are everywhere. We could look away, but we choose to look ahead. Because we believe that when people are healthy, humanity moves forward. Better health means stronger communities, growing markets, and social progress.  Our task now is to support government and partners to identify, develop, and scale up the next wave of affordable, effective health solutions.  It’s a big job. But at IRCU, we’re experienced. We’re passionate. We’re driven.

Moving forward, IRCU promotes a comprehensive approach to advocacy and programming for Public health interventions through facilitating dialogue, influencing policies and knowledge sharing within and between FBOs and religious institutions focusing on building consensus on common policy positions and harmonizing interdenominational voices for health and social measures.