School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

Supporting Village Health Teams in Mukono District, Uganda

Document Type

Poster

Keywords

global health; Uganda; education; village health workers

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Abstract

According to recent WHO estimates, Sub-Saharan Africa is facing a severe shortage of healthcare workers which would need to be expanded by over 140% to meet the needs of each country1. OmniMed is a non-profit organization seeking to address this health worker shortage and has trained over 1400 Village Health Team Members, called VHTs, in basic preventative health methods in Mukono District, Uganda. This study involved collaborating with employees of OmniMed to improve work satisfaction of VHTs and therefore to improve long-term retention of VHTs. Through interviews with VHTs at quarterly meetings, several factors were identified which negatively affected the work satisfaction of VHTs including: poor attendance at quarterly meetings due to lack of transportation and monetary resources; VHTs lack personal identification and do not currently have clearly defined roles at the local health centers; three full-time staff members were solely responsible for training and communicating with VHT's in parishes around the Mukono District without any local representation. The plan to improve VHT retention and satisfaction is three-fold. First, a tiered leadership system was developed in which VHT leaders were elected for each parish and would work directly with OmniMed employees. Second, VHTs will be better integrated into local health centers when a health assistant, who is an employee of the Ministry of Health, is hired and will work with local health centers to designate specific tasks to be completed by VHTs within the health centers. The health assistant will also educate the local health care staff about the role of the VHTs. Third, providing reimbursement for transportation and identification badges to VHTs will be a priority with the aim of facilitating attendance at quarterly meetings. OmniMed was working on implementing these structural changes as of Summer 2015 with plans to conduct a randomized control trial to determine how these changes affected VHT work satisfaction and retention.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access

1

Comments

Poster to be presented at GW Annual Research Days 2017.

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Supporting Village Health Teams in Mukono District, Uganda

According to recent WHO estimates, Sub-Saharan Africa is facing a severe shortage of healthcare workers which would need to be expanded by over 140% to meet the needs of each country1. OmniMed is a non-profit organization seeking to address this health worker shortage and has trained over 1400 Village Health Team Members, called VHTs, in basic preventative health methods in Mukono District, Uganda. This study involved collaborating with employees of OmniMed to improve work satisfaction of VHTs and therefore to improve long-term retention of VHTs. Through interviews with VHTs at quarterly meetings, several factors were identified which negatively affected the work satisfaction of VHTs including: poor attendance at quarterly meetings due to lack of transportation and monetary resources; VHTs lack personal identification and do not currently have clearly defined roles at the local health centers; three full-time staff members were solely responsible for training and communicating with VHT's in parishes around the Mukono District without any local representation. The plan to improve VHT retention and satisfaction is three-fold. First, a tiered leadership system was developed in which VHT leaders were elected for each parish and would work directly with OmniMed employees. Second, VHTs will be better integrated into local health centers when a health assistant, who is an employee of the Ministry of Health, is hired and will work with local health centers to designate specific tasks to be completed by VHTs within the health centers. The health assistant will also educate the local health care staff about the role of the VHTs. Third, providing reimbursement for transportation and identification badges to VHTs will be a priority with the aim of facilitating attendance at quarterly meetings. OmniMed was working on implementing these structural changes as of Summer 2015 with plans to conduct a randomized control trial to determine how these changes affected VHT work satisfaction and retention.