Less than half of the population in Uganda has access to health care. In addition, the country suffers from a deficit of 1.5 million health workers. It is therefore not surprising that treatable diseases are the leading cause of death in Uganda.
The government created the Village Health Team program in 2001 to focus on the lack of health workers. The joint program “Community Health Workers & Global Health” will be based in Uganda’s Mukono District, 13 miles from the capital Kampala. The Child Family Health International organization offers global health education programs that “broaden students’ perspective on global health.”
Child Family Health International (CFHI) is partnering with Omni Med to expand health care capacity from rural to central Uganda. This expansion will improve Omni Med’s training and surveillance of Village Health Team and allow participants to assist the locally-led capacity building and quality assurance.
Omni Med began its work in Uganda in 2008 and has since trained over 1,200 community health workers and established protected water sources and cookstoves as well as distributing insecticide-treated nets. These teams include health educators in rural villages who make a big difference in the health of the world’s poorest people.
Village Health Teams are elected by local villagers and tasked with educating locals with preventative health information, referring sick people to health care centers and tracking health trends for Uganda’s Ministry of Health.
Child Family Health International Global Health Scholars, also known as participants, will assist the Village Health Teams in providing locals in rural Mukono with the best preventative tool: knowledge.
Scholars will accompany the teams on their home visits, train and maintain the team’s health knowledge by teaching in quarterly meetings and aiding in other Omni Med local activities.
“We believe strongly that it is not enough to feel good about what we do–we have to measure the impact we make, and then adjust our programs based on the data,” president and founder of Omni Med, Dr. Ed O’Neil Jr said.
– Marie Helene Ngom