Special Child Program
In every community there are children who are particularly vulnerable – orphaned, neglected, disabled, severely malnourished, or continuously sick. HCU trains CHWs to refer and/or accompany these children to local health centre staff. Following assessment, regular home visits are provided to these children to check on their progress. Support for such children and their families may involve help with social issues, advocacy, medical treatment and supplies, rehabilitation, or nutritional supplementation.
HCU and CHWs have many motivating success stories about special children. To date, HCU has helped hundreds of ‘Special Children’ who have been registered with the program. Here are some of our success stories:
- Children with severe malnutrition have been successfully rehabilitated
- Children with club feet, hydrocephalus, spina bifida, and Down Syndrome have undergone rehabilitation and surgical treatment
- Orphans missing one or both parents have been supported
- Abused or abandoned children have been relocated or supported within their families while under continuing care
- Children suffering from severe cerebral palsy have been provided with local rehabilitation
- Children currently being treated for epilepsy
Our HCU communities have developed the following demonstration sites:
- Local communal gardens planted by several communities
- A new ‘EcoSan’ Latrine completed in Rugazi parish. Such models are designed to be more safe, hygienic, and environmentally-sustainable.
Model Homes Competitions
The concept of Model Homes Competitions is an original CHW idea. Homes in local villages are challenged to show how they can be ‘healthy child homes’. Criteria for ideal homes were developed by CHWs, and examples include having children who have been immunized and own health cards, a safe drinking water source, a healthy garden, or a clean latrine. Winners are determined by local judges, and locally-collected prizes are awarded for the best home within a village and also the best home among several villages.
The idea for Model Homes Competitions has spread. Annual contests are held in hundreds of villages, and thousands of homes have been judged for their ‘healthiness’.
Health Centre Upgrades
Thanks to generous support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, as well as private donors, HCU has been able to implement upgrades at several rural health centres. Here are some of the progresses we have made:
- Equipment provision for maternal and child health services
- Health centres painted with colourful illustrations and messages about health education
- Upgrades to the Rugazi Health Centre Hostel, which is used by visiting students and faculty
- New water-harvesting tanks installed at health centres
- Solar power installation in some health centres to help safely refrigerate vaccines and enable nighttime emergency care
- Support for a local young adult to attend a laboratory technician college so that he may provide much-needed services to his community
National Child Health Days
National Child Health Days are a biannual country-wide initiative that encourages parents to bring their children to outreach clinics so that local health care providers may vaccinate, weigh, and give vitamins to their children. CHWs help during these events by assisting health care providers with their tasks and providing health education to community members.
HCU also organizes other special outreach clinics with the help of Canadian and Ugandan paediatricians, rehabilitation specialists, social workers, and other health service providers. HCU assesses and treats children with special needs, and vaccination clinics are offered during outbreaks or in areas with low vaccination coverage.