Status of service delivery in the health and fitness centres in Uganda
Wamukoya, Edwin K.
Mwangi, Peter Wanderi
Paschal, Soita W.
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Many service providers have emerged on the Ugandan market offering health and fitness services. There being no data, it necessitated this study to establish the service delivery status in the sector. Using the modified 26 item SERVQUAL questionnaire, data was collected from a randomly selected sample of 486 customers with an additional 116 service consumers interviewed; covering 58 purposively selected health and fitness centres countrywide. The study targeted clients to gymnasia, aerobics clubs, aqua-based activities and specific sports (squash, tennis and martial arts) where vulnerability is high. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used in data manipulation. The measures of service quality captured along the five dimensions yielded very useful information on mean service gaps thus tangibles(-1.87), responsiveness(-1.66), empathy(-1.69), reliability(-1.71) and assurance(-1.65). The independent samples t-test revealed that there are statistically significant differences between customers’ expectations and perceptions; implying that customers clearly distinguished between service dimensions. Major findings are that: there are problems that would not allow the future success of the industry such as lack of a single authority for standardization, certification of the fitness professionals and regulating to save it from abuse. Customer perceptions are best addressed only if technical/highly skilled and relational competencies of providers are factored in at service points. Even then the current model in most fitness centres falls short of international operational standards. The study therefore recommends that the Ministry of Education and Sports or/and Ministry of Health must act promptly in a joint effort with federations, academia, and the leading international certifying organizations to directly oversee and/or set standards of practice so as to meet required quality levels and the requirements of the fitness industry for growth and development