Village health teams: northern uganda
Close your eyes and breath. Now focus on your breathing. Now reflect. Open your mind.
Imagine living without the safety net of a health facility close-by. Imagine worrying every day that you are not going to be able to afford your child’s malaria treatment; or if you could, you would then starve. Imagine the uncertainty of delivering a baby, not knowing if the pregnancy is complicated, or if there was excessive bleeding, whether you would survive.
“Laro Kwo” is acholi for saving lives, a name given to the program by both the community leaders and the VHTs. This symbolized the primary purpose of this program which is to develop a sustainable Uganda health worker training program focusing on critical community health needs (1) during crisis and (2) throughout the year with preventative education. VHTs, similar to Community Health Workers (CHWs), are integral to rural health systems where health care providers are extremely limited in number, and health resources are scarce. Northern Uganda exemplifies this as one of the most rural, underserved regions of the world with some of the highest mortality rates in maternal/child health. Much of the high morbidity/mortality in this region is preventable.
The Laro Kwo Project (LKP) is a partnership b/t MGY, Northern Uganda Medical Mission, the Uganda Health Ministry, and the communities the program serves. All training materials, mobile applications, and administrative plans have deep community connected roots, with every plan developed asked, how can this be sustainable for Uganda VHTs. Currently, on its fourth year, the Laro Kwo Project is transitioning previous VHTs trainees to instructors. New VHT instructors will be training a new cadre of VHTs this January 2019 which will include recording new videos for tablets so that recurring education can be input to the applications for year-round education which is culturally and linguistically tailored. The LKP program is expanding yearly, and current VHTs represent approx. 100,000 community members.
If you are interested in supporting this program with your time, funds, ideas, etc. please contact the program co-director Dr. Daniel S. Ebbs at firstname.lastname@example.org