HCU provides training for university faculty and staff, students, health care workers, and community volunteers. Some courses offered include:
Community Health Worker Training
Between 2004 and 2009, HCU developed and implemented a model community health worker (CHW) program (locally known as the “CORPs Model”) 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 included:
- 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
Wotton K, Brenner J. Healthy Child Uganda: CORPs Manual. Mbarara: Healthy Child Uganda; 2006 Apr. 53 p.
Transition to Village Health Teams
Today, CHW programming is expanding and evolving throughout Uganda. Uganda now recognizes CHWs as a formal part of the national health care system with hopes that soon all Ugandan villages will have teams of CHWs, known locally as Village Health Teams (VHTs).
HCU’s previous CHW “CORPS Model” was easy to modify to the national VHT program and HCU was well-positioned to make the transition. Since then, HCU has been helping to train and support new CHWs in its project areas.
Integrated Community Case Management
Integrated community case management (iCCM) is when CHWs are trained to give simple medicines to children sick with malaria, pneumonia, and/or diarrhea. HCU partnered with the Ugandan Ministry of Health and other NGOs to develop this new national activity. CHWs were trained in how to give medicines so that children in rural Uganda may have better access to life-saving treatments for these three illnesses.
HCU researchers tested how to best train health workers and CHWs for the distribution of such medicines. As part of this research, HCU also looked at the potential for CHWs to use mobile phones to conduct iCCM activities.
Buchner DL, Brenner JL, Kabakyenga J, Teddy K, Maling S, Barigye C, et al. Stakeholders’ perceptions of integrated community case management by community health workers: a post-intervention qualitative study. PLoS One 2014 Jun 13;9(6):e98610.
Tumusiime D, Agaba G, Kyomuhangi T, Finch J, Kabakyenga J, MacLeod S. Introduction of mobile phones for use by volunteer community health workers in support of integrated community case management in Bushenyi District, Uganda: development and implementation process. BMC Health Serv Res 2014;14(Suppl 1):S2.
Mercader HF, Kyomuhangi T, Buchner DL, Kabakyenga J, Brenner JL. Drugs for some but not all: inequity within community health worker teams during introduction of integrated community case management. BMC Health Serv Res 2014;14(Suppl 1):S1.
Community Development Training
Because of the training they have received and their role in the community, CHWs are well-positioned to clearly see the many barriers to better child health. Poverty, poor water and sanitation, limited infrastructure, transportation problems, and gender issues all contribute to poor health. In response, HCU has initiated special CHW Community Development workshops on topics such as development, gender, leadership, income-generating activities, and how to build community infrastructure.
HCU has also arranged for specialized training on these topics:
- Energy efficient store building
- Biosand water filtration
- Small business management
- Growing orange sweet potatoes and high-iron beans
Wotton K. Healthy Child Uganda: Community Development Manual. Mbarara: Healthy Child Uganda; 2011. 92 p.
CHWs from several villages in Kitungura Parish were chosen to attend a 5-day Nutrition Leadership Training to learn about advanced nutrition. Between 2012-2013, CHWs in Bushenyi and Rubirizi Districts received 2-day Nutrition Training as part of the Muskoka Project (2012-2015) funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) Canada. The same training package was then provided to CHWs in Ntungamo (in conjunction with ACTS, as part of the Rwera Kintu Project). These CHWs now share their knowledge in growing, selecting, and preparing locally available foods with their communities.
Health Provider Maternal and Child Health Skill Training
HCU team members and MUST faculty train nurses, midwives, clinical officers, and lab technicians from local health centres. They offer skill training courses and refreshers in safe delivery (EMOC), newborn resuscitation and care (HBB, ENC), nutrition, acute care for sick children (IMCI), and care for children with disabilities (in conjunction with Organized and Useful Rehabilitation Services (OURS)).
“I attended a one-day Newborn C-IMCI workshop recently and they told me that when a baby is born, we should put the baby on the mother’s stomach (Kangaroo Care) while waiting for the placenta to deliver. I have been doing that ever since and I have noticed that babies are much healthier… Before, we had cases of hypothermia occurring. This is such a great thing to know how to do!“
Research Methods Course
Out of the partnership between MUST, University of Calgary, and Dalhousie University, an idea was generated for a 2-week Research Methods Course at MUST. This is now being offered annually to faculty and post-graduate students. Using a multidisciplinary, small group, problem-based approach, experienced Canadian tutors are partnered with Ugandan colleagues to lead seminars focused on answering real life, practical health-related questions; they explore issues of how to develop research projects and proposals, methodologies, publications, and personal career development.