Community Health Workers (CHW's) or Village Health Teams (VHTs) are one of the most effective ways to provide education and primary health delivery to poor communities not just in Africa, but around the globe.
Through research-based efficacy, monitoring, and evaluation, VHTs or CHW's have been shown to:
Improve on their critical life -saving skills through training, equipping and support
Enhance the health infrastructure of local communities
Improve the capacity of the local health care professionals
Increase trained community health leaders and health care providers for mothers and their children
Importantly, Village Health Teams (VHTs) create the trust and pride of ownership that ultimately enables a long term sustainable solution for local populations to improve their own health and well-being.
Creating Trust, Access and Empowerment
Working in partnership with District Health Education officers and local hospitals, we recruit, train, equip, supervise and monitor the work of local lay individuals who live in rural areas to provide basic education, preventive, diagnostic and referral services year round. Training local people to meet the needs of their own communities, and sustain and enhance the work that is done during medical camps creates trust, ongoing access, and an environment of community empowerment and transformational change in behavior.
Creating Certified Health Leaders
The VHTs are volunteers selected by the district health education officers and appointed by their communities to become certified community health leaders. They receive ongoing training from hospital staff, clinicians, and midwives to provide health and hygiene education, basic preventive services concentrating on child and maternal health and wellness, disease identification and treatment referrals, and health record keeping for their assigned villages.
Making a Measurable Impact
We target specific disease intervention during the VHT initial training, follow-up training, and home visits, in clinical areas that have been shown to make a clear difference in health. One camp, for example, focused on training our VHTs on basic health messaging and patient interactin with a concentration on reproductive health, family planning, and preparation for specialty disease training. We seek to make a measurable impact on life expectancy, and infant and child mortality in the district.We have started our VHT program in Budongo subcounty, Masindi district, Uganda.
Our approach is centered on community empowerment, qualitative and quantitative learning, and collaboration.
To date we have trained ten individuals to deliver basic health care and services to 26 villages. In addition to basic medical and record keeping supplies, we have equipped them with bicycles for travel and solar powered lanterns. During their normal course of duties, VHTs are also highly instrumental in the success of our medical camps – promoting awareness and providing translations as well as medical services.
Our objectives for Village Health Teams fall into four categories:
VHT Training, Follow-up, and Support
Maintain VHT involvement through incentives, Ministry of Health programs, and ongoing follow up visits by District Health Educators and other like-minded health organizations
Provide supportive supervision and fair evaluation; give constructive feedback among the team and recognition of performance from supervisors.
Provide incentive strategies that reward and retain quality VHT’s
Develop better collaboration and cooperation among local health authorities, partners and communities to establish stronger mechanisms of support
Program based on a Ministry of Health pilot with modifications based on lessons learned
Collaboration shown to improve the quality of readily accessible care, create efficiencies in care delivery, promote day-to-day responsibility and accountability, coordination and cooperation, better communication, and mutual trust and respect
Strategic Planning and Scaling of the Program
Multi-faceted processes in which District Health Educators train VHT’s, conduct door-to-door follow up training visits with them, foster leadership among the VHT ranks, and develop collaborative partnerships that offer VHT’s resources and specific opportunities to improve the health of their families and their communities.
Measurement of outcomes and results for beneficiaries, stakeholders, VHTs, and GLO
Measure against the Masindi District’s health indices, under-five and infant mortality, and life expectancy
Measurably improve specific clinical and disease entities by tracking district hospital admissions and clinic evaluations for malaria, episodes of fever, diarrheal illness, vaccine-preventable illnesses, fertility, and incidence of STDs.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
By donating $150, you will provide one VHT with one week of training
By donating $300, you will provide two weeks of training for that VHT for the year
By donating $1,500, you will provide one week of training for the 10 VHT’S for the year
By donating $3,000, you will provide two weeks of training for 10 VHT’s for the year