Community health workers trained, retooled to support Ebola response in Uganda
A partnership involving the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC), African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), the Uganda Health ministry, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has seen the training and retooling of close to 1000 community health workers, also known as Village Health Teams (VHTs) in Kassanda, one of the worst hit districts in the ongoing Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.
The training followed a request from Uganda to the Africa CDC which is working with AFENET and the Uganda Health ministry to effect the capacity building appeal.
According to Dr. Godfrey Kayita, AFENET’s Uganda EVD outbreak response coordinator, the VHT’s have been trained in enhanced public health emergency preparedness and response.
“Working with the Health ministry’s departments of Surveillance, Community Health, as well as Health Promotion and Education, we looked at both the community materials from the MoH and those of the Africa CDC and developed some manuals to train the village health teams on community aspects of surveillance, communication and health promotion,” said Dr Kayita on 07 November 2022. “The VHTs are supposed to do community surveillance, support contact tracing, support active case search for Ebola, they are also supposed to do risk communication and community engagement. They are also supposed to do a bit of psychosocial support for their community members.”
While the target was to train 1000 VHTs in the district, Dr Kayita says 978 were trained, in a capacity building support that will also see the training burial teams and media practitioners this week.
After the three-day training, each VHT member received a kit containing a T-shirt, a jacket, an umbrella, gumboots, a temperature gun and a bag for use over the next three months.
“We need them to go to the community and support the response as soon as possible. We are hoping that with in these three months (November 2022 – January 2023), we will have kicked Ebola out of Kassanda and Uganda,” adds Dr Kayita.
Caption: Top Left; Africa CDC officials. Bottom (R-L); Kassanda Resident District Commissioner Ms. Phoebe Namulindwa, Dr. Godfrey Bwire Asst. Commissioner at MoH and District Incident Commander for Kassanda Response, two district trainers including District Surveillance Focal Person Mr Joseph Kabanda, MoH VHT coordinator Dr. Ronald Oceetre, AFENET Response Coordinator Dr. Godfrey Kayita and AFENET procurement staff Mr Allan Kinsambwe on the truck.