Projects and Grants
We Care Solar: Light Every Birth (2018-2019)
The We Care Solar Light Every Birth Initiative Uganda (www.wecaresolar.org) partnership will see the provision of solar suitcases (valued at $2 000USD 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)
Laerdal Foundation and IDRC: Sim for Life - Training (2016-2018)
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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)
ACTS: Rwera Kintu - Project (2013-2016)
UNFPA: UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities - Study (2014-2015)
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.
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.
Healthy Child Uganda Muskoka Project Overview. Mbarara: Healthy Child Uganda; 2014 Oct. 2 p.
Save the Children: Medical Camps - Training (2009-2014)
UNICEF: Motorcycle Ambulance - Study (2011-2013)
GHRI: CHW Mobile Phone - Study (2010-2013)
GHRI: Integrated Community Case Management Pilot - Study (2009-2013)
British Council: DelPHE Partnership Capacity - Project (2009-2012)
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.