Projects and Grants

Projects and Grants Uganda

  Projects and Grants

Global Affairs Canada: Healthy Adolescents and Young People (HAY!)

Healthy Child Uganda is a global health partnership between the Mbarara University of Science and Technology and the University of Calgary. The Healthy Adolescents and Young People initiative or HAY! is building on the MamaToto Intervention to support the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people (10-24) in southwestern Uganda. This is a 3 Million (USD) Project funded by Global Affairs Canada reaching three districts.

We Care Solar: Light Every Birth (2018-2019)

The We Care Solar Light Every Birth Initiative Uganda ( partnership will see the provision of solar suitcases (valued at $2000 USD each) to facilities affiliated with HCU that conduct deliveries and are lacking a reliable power source. The aim is to bring reliable solar source powered lighting and essential electricity to health facilities to promote safe birth.

Global Affairs Canada: Mama na Mtoto Tanzania - Project (2016-2020)

Mama na Mtoto Tanzania ( is a global health partnership between Tanzanian, Canadian, and Ugandan teams to improve maternal, child, and youth health in rural Tanzania. It built on the Mama Toto model from Healthy Child Uganda and was adapted for Lake Zone, Tanzania. This was a 10 Million (USD) Project funded by Global Affairs Canada covering two districts and 800 000 people.

ELMA, Laerdal Foundation, IDRC: Sim for Life - Training (2016-2019)

Sim for Life is a partnership that provided life saving medical simulation education in Uganda to prevent maternal, newborn, and child death. This is a partnership with MUST, UCalgary, Canada, and Stavanger University, Norway for 3 Million (USD) supported by ELMA foundation, Laerdal Foundation, and the International Development Research Centre. The partnership:

  1. Set up and equipped a simulation centre
  2. Developed and adapted 76 scenarios for simulation based learning (SBL)
  3. Trained 642 medical and nursing students in SBL and enhanced teamwork scores
  4. Designed and tested a simulation enhanced Helping Babies Breathe training package
  5. Fostered peer to peer learning and hands on practice in newborn resuscitation with 442 health workers, later applied by the World Health Organization.

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ELMA, Laerdal Foundation, IDRC: Sim for Life, Phase 2 (2020-2024)

Phase 2 of Sim for Life will:

  1. Train medical residents on simulation based learning SBL facilitations
  2. Scale up SIM at four partner universities and teaching hospitals in Uganda, Tanzania, and Nigeria
  3. Develop a gender and cultural lens approach for simulation debriefing
  4. Test an innovative augmented infant resuscitator (AIR) device in a simulation setting
  5. Test an innovative newborn support tool in twelve high volume maternity sites

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HarvestPlus: Biofortified Crops - Project (2013-Present)

“Developing and Delivering Biofortified Crops (DDBC) in Uganda” (2013-Present)

This project focuses on addressing hidden hunger through biofortified crops, which include orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OSPs) and high-iron beans. The project targets children under five years and women of reproductive age, and its aim is to provide iron, zinc, and vitamin A micronutrients through staple diets that have significant impact on the health of children less than five years. The DDBC project is currently being implemented in the following parishes of Mbarara District in Uganda: Bushwere and Ryamiyonga in Mwizi Sub-County, Nyarubungo and Kitunguru in Rugando Sub-County, and Kibaare and Kongoro in Ndeija Sub-County.

Project Progress

Seed Distribution: This project works with 225 CHWs to train and educate communities about biofortified OSP vines and high-iron beans. Seeds and vines are distributed directly by projects through a payback system. As a result, about 40,000 farmers have benefitted from high-iron beans and OSP vines.

Trainings: CHWs are trained in nutrition and agronomy in order to build their capacities in promoting the nutritional components of OSPs and high iron beans, and in promoting better farming practices. As a result, 2,000 farmers have been trained by CHWs in nutrition and agronomy. This project selected CHWs as a sustainable approach, since VHTs conduct routine home visits and village meetings where a range of health-related issues are discussed.

Nutrition Training:

  • 1st Module: The importance of food, a balanced diet, vitamin A, and iron.
  • 2nd Module: Recommended feeding practices for children under five years. In this training, children are divided into four categories depending on their feeding practices: 0-6 months, 6 months-1 year, 1-2 years, and 2-5 years. This module involves practical demonstrations on best feeding practices.
  • 3rd Module: Topics on recommended feeding practices for pregnant and lactating mothers. This is critical to MNCH since the feeding of a pregnant mother determines the health of baby. All nutrition trainings involve food demonstrations that are conducted among community members. These trainings form a basis for Nutrition Fairs, which involve cooking competitions.

Agronomy Training:

  • 1st Module: Pre-planting and planting of OSPs and high-iron beans. This module is tailored to enable farmers to learn how to prepare fields in a way that maximizes yields.
  • 2nd Module: Pest and disease management. Pests and diseases are significant challenges to farm yields; therefore this module is tailored to empower farmers to gain skills and strategies on pest prevention and disease management.
  • 3rd Module: Pre- and post-harvest handling of beans and sweet potatoes. This module enables farmers to reduce wastage.

MicroResearch - Training (2012-Present)

The MicroResearch Africa initiative supports local research capacity to develop better health outcomes. MicroResearch focuses on education, mentoring, and seed funding.

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ACTS: Rwera Kintu - Project (2013-2016)

African Community Technical Services supported the Rwera Kintu project in the Ntugomo district. A network of 2000 Village Health Team members were trained to provide health and hygiene promotion in support of water and sanitation. VHT’s were linked to 20 health facilities.

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UNFPA: UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities - Study (2014-2015)

UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities was a study looking at the distribution of colour coded Amoxicillin and its use and effectiveness in developing new dosing guidelines.

DFATD Canada: Healthy Child Uganda Muskoka (MamaToto) - Project (2012-2015)

“Healthy Child Uganda: Scaling Up Comprehensive Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Programming to Create a Model District in Bushenyi, Uganda” (2012-2015)

This project (also called the ‘MamaToto Intervention’) was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) Canada through the Muskoka Initiative.

Project Objective:

To significantly improve the health and survival of pregnant women, newborns, and young children living in the Bushenyi District in southwest Uganda through the delivery of a comprehensive MNCH package.

Experiences and lessons learned from MNCH programming led HCU to develop the ‘MamaToto Package’. Over a two year period, HCU facilitated district-led scale up of community health worker (CHW) programming and facility-based MNCH strengthening in Bushenyi District in Southwest Uganda. Through a series of processes (SCAN, ORIENT, PLAN, EQUIP, TRAIN, and REFLECT), leaders from three levels (district, health facility, and community) implemented a series of activities resulting in an operational CHW program and strengthened health facilities. The district developed and monitored their own MNCH priorities; MNCH short courses refreshed health staff clinical skills; In-charges participated in management workshops and led quality improvement initiatives at health centres; training and data use strengthened Health Management Information System capacity; orientations and MNCH-planning reinvigorated Health Unit Management Committees. Training, supervision, and support encouraged strong networks of volunteer CHWs to conduct home visits, assess and refer patients, provide health education, and mobilize communities for National Child Health Days.


MamaToto evaluation conducted 18 months post-intervention throughout Bushenyi district demonstrated convincing program impact.

  • 1,669 CHWs trained in 64 parishes, all 563 villages represented
  • 97% CHW retention after one year; 96% after two years

Analysis of post-intervention focus groups revealed the following three key positive outcome themes supported by household survey findings (relative changes shown, all statistically significant):

  • Theme 1: Decreased morbidity ➝ presumed pneumonia (↓20%), diarrhea (↓34%), underweight status (↓17%)
  • Theme 2: Improved household health practices ➝ Vitamin A (↑20%), deworming (↑33%), measles vaccine (↑13%)
  • Theme 3: Improved care-seeking practices/access ➝ Antibiotics for pneumonia (↑34%); ANC 4+ (↑22%), postnatal care

Bushenyi district leaders have been active in the MamaToto process and continue to plan, implement, and monitor MNCH activities.

A ‘MamaToto Package’ contains materials, tools and processes for future scale-up.


Districts can successfully scale up an MNCH program based on national CHW and MNCH policy guidelines.

Carefully integrated activities can strengthen district, facility, and community capacity for MNCH and significantly impact MNCH morbidity, health practices, and care-seeking over a short period of time. A network of effective CHWs can be successfully trained, supervised, and retained.

Overall, the HCU MamaToto approach offers an effective, low-cost, sustainable and replicable package suitable for implementation by districts themselves.

Additional Resource:

Healthy Child Uganda Muskoka Project Overview. Mbarara: Healthy Child Uganda; 2014 Oct. 2 p.


Save the Children: Medical Camps - Training (2009-2014)

Each year, the Mbarara University of Science and Technology ran optional, hands on, skill building camps over 5 weekends for final year nursing and medical students. Supported by Save the Children, students were trained in Helping Mothers Survive, Bleeding After Birth, Helping Babies Survive, and Essential Newborn Care. The University of Calgary supported the teaching of MUST medical and nursing faculty.

UNICEF: Motorcycle Ambulance - Study (2011-2013)

In partnership with UNICEF Uganda, Healthy Child Uganda tested several models of motorcycle ambulances in rural areas with health districts. Findings indicated that:

  1. Light weight motorcycles were not durable enough for the terrain.
  2. heavy motorcycles worked well but were costly to operate and maintain
  3. Safe transit varied with road conditions
  4. Ambulance attached offered an alternative for hard to access sites

GHRI: CHW Mobile Phone - Study (2010-2013)

Mobile phones have the capacity too greatly improve the health and survival of acutely ill children in rural Africa. Integrated Community Care Management (iCCM) strategies utilize a mobile phone enabled system to support Community Health Workers (CHW’s) in rural areas. The system allows CHW’s to access medical information and report data, strengthening the iCCM’s capacity to improve the survival of acutely ill children.

GHRI: Integrated Community Case Management Pilot - Study (2009-2013)

Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) strategies target low income areas by providing timely access to medical care for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea for children under 5 years old.

British Council: DelPHE Partnership Capacity - Project (2009-2012)

The Development Partnerships in Higher Education builds on the Millennium Development Goals by leveraging higher education institutions to support developing nations. In Uganda, a community based approach was used to improve the quality of basic education by building on the capacity of parents and the community to effectively participate in school related activities.

CORPS Model - Project (2006-2011)

Between 2006 and 2009, HCU implemented a model community health worker (CHW) program in 175 villages in southwestern Uganda. Two volunteers were selected from each village (by the village community itself) and were then trained as CHWs to promote child health. During a 5-day course, these volunteers learned to treat and prevent common illnesses and to recognize when to refer sick children to hospitals. They met monthly with local health centre staff for re-training and reporting. CHW responsibilities include:

  • Visiting homes with pregnant women, newborn babies, and young children
  • Conducting health education presentations
  • Organizing health and development initiatives within their own villages
  • Encouraging parents to take children for immunization and weighing
  • Assessing children when they are sick and determining if they need to go immediately to a health centre or if they can be treated safely at home
  • Advocating for children in their village, especially those with special needs

HCU’s CHW Model (locally known as the “CORPs Model”) was extremely successful. Retention of volunteer CHWs after 5 years exceeded 86%. Fewer children became sick and malnourished and child deaths reduced dramatically (by more than 50% according to CHW monthly reports). An encouraging spin-off has been tremendous enthusiasm and empowerment among the volunteer CHWs, and many new innovations and community projects.

From 2009 to 2011, HCU consolidated the model community health worker program and extended roll out.

Buy-a-Net: Bednet Distribution (2008-2009)

Buy-a-Net supplied insecticide treated bednets to villages in South West Uganda. They distributed through a network of 1000 community owned resource persons trained by Healthy Child Uganda. A priority was to offer nets to pregnant women and lactating moms.

CIHR: Understanding Barriers and Enhancers to Child Health - Study (2006-2008)

Healthy Child Uganda implemented a volunteer community health worker child health promotion model in rural Uganda. An impact evaluation was conducted to assess volunteer community health workers’ effect on child morbidity, mortality and to calculate volunteer retention. A low-cost child health promotion model using volunteer community health workers demonstrated decreased child morbidity, dramatic mortality trend declines and high volunteer retention. This sustainable model could be scaled-up to sub-Saharan African communities with limited resources and high child health needs.

CORPs Pilot - Project (2003-2005)

For six years, Canadian paediatricians have worked in partnership with their Ugandan colleagues to promote improved child health in southwestern Uganda. Ugandans and Canadians have benefited from this collaboration. Hundreds of Ugandan undergraduate and graduate health care trainees, more than 100 community volunteers and numerous local health practitioners have received child health training through one of these three Canadian-supported paediatric initiatives. More than 25 Canadian paediatricians have benefited greatly from their overseas teaching and clinical experience. The strength of this collaboration is a shared interest in improving child health in southwestern Uganda. A strong Ugandan-Canadian partnership has built significant child health capacity with great benefit to both partners. These initiatives may serve as a model for other child health providers wishing to support capacity-building initiatives in less developed countries to improve global health. Key Words: Capaci

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