VHTs Decry Harsh Working Environment

1291 Views Jinja, Uganda

In short
They are meant to help in identifying, counseling, and giving treatment to malaria, Pneumonia and diarrhea patients among other diseases.

Village Health Teams-VHT in Busoga region have decried the lack of supplies and competition from traditional birth attendants claiming it undermines their work. VHTs were deployed by Ministry of Health to supplement efforts of the few available health workers. They are meant to help in identifying, counseling, and giving treatment to malaria, Pneumonia and diarrhea patients among other diseases. However, the VHTs in Jinja claim that, despite the fact that they carry on with their sensitization work they have run out drugs needed by the patients.
 
Aggrey Mukoova, a VHT volunteer attached to St Benedict Health Center in Bugembe town council says that, some of the community members have started shunning them because they can’t attend to their needs. He cites a number of expectant mothers who have shunned the VHT volunteers and instead opted for traditional birth attendants because they give them herbs.

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Sandra Nangobi, a VHT worker at Kamuli Mission Hospital says that the lack of transport and adequate medicine supplies has greatly undermined their position in the community.  He says that it difficult for them to traverse the villages on foot on empty stomachs.  Paul Buyinza, VHT worker in Ibulanku says that despite the absence of drugs, they still refer patient to hospital and give them advice to save their lives.

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But Safina Nabirye, the chairperson of Jinja traditional birth attendants denies claims that they speak ill of the VHT and discourage residents from seeking treatment from hospital. Nabirye claims that she also refers mothers who have delivered at her place to the nearest health center for a check up. She says that they have advised all traditional birth attendants to register and acquire the basic training in midwifery is to offer better services to people.