Community Empowerment in Health
Community Empowerment in Health
Not-for-profitYear launched: 2008
Country of Operation
Target income level
- Bottom 20%
- Lower-middle income (20-40%)
- Middle-income (40-60%)
- Higher middle-income (60-80%)
- High-income (80-100%)
- Malaria and other vector borne diseases
SummarySince March 2008, Omni Med has partnered with local health officials, the US Peace Corps, Volunteers for Prosperity, and local and transnational NGOs to train community health workers, called village health teams—VHTs, in the Mukono District of Uganda.
Mortality and morbidity rates in Uganda are among the world’s highest, with a life expectancy of only 52.72 years—the 4th lowest in the world. Easily preventable diseases such as malaria, HIV, diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, and malnutrition ravage the population under five years old, resulting in an infant mortality rate that is the 33rd highest in the world. only 42.7% of Ugandan parishes (townships) have access to a health facility. A large percentage of Uganda’s rural population is effectively isolated from any sort of health care, yet the interventions that save the most lives are inexpensive to implement and applied at the household level. These are the interventions emphasized in this program model.
Key program components
**Training Village Health Teams:** A recurring week-long training course is offered to Village Health Teams (VHTs) (with 25-30 VHTs trained per course), preparing them to implement preventative and curative strategies such as malaria prevention and treatment through bed net usage and prompt diagnosis and referral, prevention, screening, and referral for HIV/AIDS, promotion of sexual and reproductive health to reduce birthrates and prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, and provide maternal and child care, including immunization. The course is taught mostly by local trainers and other volunteers (the majority of whom are international) and is reinforced by focus groups, quarterly meetings, and follow-up home visits by VHTs accompanied by the volunteers. Most volunteers facilitate one full training course, a focus group or quarterly meeting, and completes multiple home visits during their stay, with over 900 completed thus far. The home visits and focus groups ensure the transfer of knowledge to those who will benefit most, and allows the program's managers to monitor the program’s efficacy. This program is modeled after a similar initiative implementer by the government of Ugandan in Mpigi District from 2004-2007. The current program improves upon that model by enhancing the initial trainings, sending volunteers door-to-door with newly trained VHTs to reinforce their training, helping volunteers reach every local household by distributing laminated sheets with the 12 most important preventive measures, translated information into the local language (Luganda), and coordinating quarterly meetings and focus groups to reinforce training and maintain morale. US volunteers cover training and program costs (with support from US Volunteers for Prosperity), while the MOH and US Peace Corps provide in-kind support. Omni Med is also developing and implementing a prospective clinical trial to measure the program’s impact by comparing baseline health indices before and after VHT training and follow up home visits. Results are expected in March 2012.