The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uganda introduced Community Health Workers (CHWs) commonly known as Village Health Team (VHT) in 2001 as an innovative approach to reducing barriers to primary healthcare coverage, especially in areas with limited access to healthcare services due to insufficiently trained healthcare personnel.
The Village Health Team is a community (village) based structure whose members are selected by the people themselves to promote people’s health and wellbeing at the village level. This is done with guidance from Ministry of Health on the criteria to be used for selecting such volunteers.
KOFIH is supporting Ministry of Health to implement a capacity building project for CHWs in central Uganda in Masaka, Masaka City and Bukomansimbi.
One of the key aspects in the implementation of CHW Project is focused on Training of VHT in the 5 Thematic areas which include; Maternal Child Health (MCH); Family Planning; Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC); Community First Aid Response (EMS); Communicable and Non-communicable diseases.
The Ministry of Health through the department of Health Promotion, Education and Strategic Health Communication held a workshop at the Source of the Nile Hotel in Namanve from 28th November to 7th December 2022 to Review, Validate and Finalize the harmonized VHT Training Documents. The documents include: VHT Handbook, Facilitator’s Guide, Training of Trainers’ Guideline, and Strategy and Operational Guidelines, and Occupational Analysis for Village Health Teams (VHTs).
About 30-participants were carefully selected from over 20 District Local Governments including Kampala based on their technical expertise and long-term practical experience working with VHTs on the ground in the communities to participate in this training.
In attendance was the Commissioner Health Services in charge of Health Promotion, Education and Strategic Health Communication, Dr. Richard Kabanda and the Country Representative KOFIH Uganda Office, Mr. Bounggui Kim who in their remarks, called upon the participants to diligently dedicate their expertise, time and commitment towards development of VHT Training materials.
It was noted that once the final VHT materials are launched, they will be used as a guide the trainings of all VHTs and all partners working with, and those that intend to work with VHTs in all districts of the country.
Dr. Richard Kabanda, the Commissioner in-charge; highlighted the importance of capacity building of VHTs mentioning that, ‘KOFIH Project on Building Capacity for Community Health Workers in Masaka District, Masaka City and Bukomansimbi District, will be used as a benchmark for harmonization of all future trainings of VHTs by government departments and partners’.
The Country Representative of KOFIH in his remarks stressed that; “The VHTs play a key role in the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM) and therefore KOFIH intends to work hand in hand with the Government of Uganda through Ministry of Health to strengthen the VHT System.”
The VHT Training Materials were reviewed and developed in such a manner that the content is personalized to the end-users, the VHTs and a free section was added to allow each district to engineer in key issues affecting that particular district which may be peculiar to them. The training manual and all materials will further be reviewed by the Director General Health Services and the Permanent Secretary for any in-put before dissemination and operationalization.
Upon approval, the VHT Handbook, VHT Facilitator’s Guide, VHT Training of Trainers’ Guideline and the VHT Strategy and Operations Guideline will be replicated and used in KOFIH project sites as well as other districts in the country by both government departments and partners.