What are the tools available for the job? Coordination instruments at Uganda's national government level and their implications for multisectoral action for health

Aloysius Ssennyonjo, Bart Criel, Sara Van Belle, Freddie Ssengooba, Kristof Titeca

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Managing sectoral interdependences requires functional tools that facilitate coordinated multisectoral efforts. The pursuit of multisectoral action for health is intrinsically linked to broader efforts in many governments to achieve greater internal coordination. This research explores the nature of coordination instruments for multisectoral action at the national level in Uganda and the complexities of how these tools play out in implementation. Data was collected through 26 purposive in-depth interviews with national-level stakeholders, including government officials and non-state actors, and a review of selected government strategic documents. A typology of coordination instruments was developed and used to break them down into structural and management tools, and infer their underlying coordination mechanisms based on their design and operational features. A multitheoretical framework guided the analysis of the factors influencing the implementation dynamics and functioning of the tools. The study found that the Government of Uganda uses a range of structural and management instrument mixes mutually influencing each other and mainly based on hierarchy and network mechanisms These instruments constitute and generate the resources that structure interorganizational relationships across vertical and horizontal boundaries. The instrument mixes also create hybrid institutional configurations that generate complementary but at times conflicting influences. This study demonstrated that a contextualized examination of specific coordination tools can be enhanced by delineating the underlying institutional forms of ideal type mechanisms. Such an approach can inspire more complex analysis and comparisons of coordination instruments within and across government levels, policy domains or issues over time. Health policy and systems research needs to pay attention to the instrument mixes in government systems and their dynamic interaction across policy issues and over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberczac047
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1025–1041
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Coordination
  • instrument mix
  • coordination mechanisms
  • governance
  • multisectoral action for health
  • public sector coordination

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