Monday, 10 April, 2017
Improved health for Nabirye’s family
Nabirye Mary, a 35 year old married woman resides in Njeru Village in Nakitoma sub-county, Nakasongola district, Uganda. She is one of the community members reached by Village Health Teams (VHTs), trained by Amref Health Africa, through door to door mobilisation. She is a mother of three children – 10 month old twins and a four year old boy. Mary’s children frequently suffered from diarrhoea and malaria which was caused by her poor sanitation methods. When the VHT approached her in June 2011, she lamented that she did not have mosquito nets and had minimal knowledge on malaria and diarrhoea prevention due to lack of exposure to training and community dialogue meetings. Such meetings address community health issues and since malaria is a big challenge in Nakasongola, it is commonly discussed with community leaders and health workers engaging the community to lay out strategies to address key concerns.
Although Nabirye always thought about malaria prevention and treatment, she did not know how and where to start. She could not access available services because she did not have the money to take her to the nearest referral health unit Nakitoma HC III, nine kilometers away, so she often used local herbs and traditional medicine. Nabirye informed the VHT that the children needed a lot of care since they were sick most of the time, limiting the time she could dedicate to productive work for her family. The VHT decided to conduct thorough medical investigations and observations to help both mother and children.
Amref Health Africa, through a CIDA maternal and child project, supported VHT community based organisations (CBOs) to educate Nabirye and other mothers on the importance of accessing health care and provide them with valuable information that would enable them make informed decisions. Nabirye was also referred for HIV testing and counselling at Nakitoma HC III and was among the 10,000 people who received long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets from Amref Health Africa.
From June 2012 to date, Nabirye’s twins have not suffered from malaria or diarrhoea. All the children are sleeping under mosquito nets and Nabirye has cut all the grass around her home.
When visited by Amref Health Africa project staff, Nabirye could not hide her joy as the health of her family has greatly improved thanks to Amref Health Africa. She is one of the hundreds of women in the district that have benefited from the services of Amref Health Africa through CBOs and VHTs. Village Health Team members carry out door to door mobilisation and have managed to access health care and psychosocial support to mothers and children in the community – something that has ensured better health for the communities of Nakasongola.