What We Do

Improving health for mothers, babies, and children in Uganda.

HCU has learned so much from local communities and our partners. Together we have made important contributions towards saving lives in Mbarara, Bushenyi, Rubirizi, and Ntungamo districts in Southwest Uganda. Highlights include:

Promoting Healthy Communities

Since 2003, HCU has partnered with districts to train and support an incredible network of more than 5,000 volunteer community health workers (CHWs), representing nearly 1,000 Ugandan villages. Each CHW serves his/her village, promoting health and assessing and referring sick children and pregnant women. CHWs are champions for women and children. They stimulate community health and development activities, including hundreds of income-generating projects, thousands of model homes, and community transport plans in many communities.

Community health workers, known locally as Village Health Teams (VHTs), are volunteers who are selected by the people they live among and then trained in health promotion.

HCU develops CHW curriculum and shares it widely online. HCU also offers community facilitation training courses available to others supporting community-based programs.

Strengthening Health Services

HCU trains health providers, especially those from rural health posts, through short courses, refresher trainings, and mentorship. To date, over 500 providers (midwives, nurses, clinical officers, lab technicians, and health administrative leaders) have strengthened skills in newborn resuscitation, safe delivery, care for sick children, and nutrition. As well, 130 rural health centres now have improved equipment, facilities, and maternal and child services such as antenatal care, immunization, and growth monitoring.

Developing Pilot and Scale-Up Model Programs

As a university partnership, HCU is well-positioned as a maternal and child health innovator and to critically appraise and improve on the status quo. HCU works with government implementors and policy makers to ensure alignment and integration with government systems and policies. HCU assesses program gaps, documenting best practices and lessons learned. An integrated community, health centre, and health systems approach model is currently being developed in Bushenyi and Rubirizi districts (population ~350,000) thanks to funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) Canada through the Muskoka Initiative (2012-2015).

The MamaToto Package, SOPETR Approach, and CORPS model are examples of ‘Best Practice’ approaches developed and tested by HCU.

Measuring Results

HCU is a leader in maternal and child health research, critically and objectively supporting a stronger evidence base for health programs. Ugandan and Canadian team members jointly undertake field studies, publish in peer-reviewed journals, present at international conferences, and prepare evaluations and reports to development and government partners. MUST was instrumental in leading the development of ‘MicroResearch‘, which offers local faculty opportunities for small but important community-based projects. MicroResearch has since expanded to five sites in three countries.

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