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 Educators 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.
Our objectives for Village Health Teams are to:
Provide training, follow-up, and support for VHTs in order to develop better collaboration
Develop partnerships that improve the quality of readily accessible care and create efficiencies in care delivery
Strategically plan and scale the program
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
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, focuses on training our VHTs on basic health messaging and patient interaction 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 twenty six community health workers to deliver basic health care and services to 26 villages. In addition to basic medical and record keeping supplies, we equip 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.
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