By Glad Kigozi
MUKONO `Village Health Teams VHTs are crying foul over government’s failure to facilitate them with necessary logistics to enable them sensitize their communities on the control of the Ebola pandemic.
They claim that much as they are tasked by the government through the Ministry of health to sensitize people against Ebola, they have not been facilitated with protective gears or even wages, and this puts their lives at risks too.
More so, with lack of transport facilities, they cannot reach out to many homes or households other than those on their neighborhoods.
VHTs are a group of people who help in sensitizing the locals in their villages on health matters like mobilizing parents to take their children for immunization, guide people on how to prevent certain diseases and even do encourage them to seek medical care in case they fall sick.
Teopista Mirembe a village health team (VHT) of Bagala zone in Goma division in Mukono Municipality says that:
“As a VHT, I’m working hard to mobilise residents in guarding against Ebola but l do lack money for transport to distant areas so I have to reach out to a few residents who are nearby.
I’m calling upon the Ministry of Health and other partners to come in and render support in fighting the virus through facilitating us”, said Mirembe.
Mirembe is not alone as there many other VHTs crying for support, another one Sarah Nabukomeko a VHT of Kauga in Mukono Municipality says that ” As a VHT, I’m supposed to be exemplary while at sensitisation work through following the prescribed health precautions like sanitizing frequently and putting on a mask but I don’t have any protective gears.
“How can I sensitize people to sanitize or wash hands frequently yet I myself cannot sanitize before them due to the lack of sanitizers!” Nabukomeko wondered.
Gerald Lutaaya a VHT of Kakinzi village in Nakifuma Naggalama Town Council says that” We do supplement the Ministry of Health’s efforts at the grass roots but we are not motivated at all.
“I’m calling upon the Ministry of Health to consider us to be part of them and pay us some money in order for us to do a good job”, said Lutaaya.
The District Health Officer, Dr Stephen Mulindwa said that VHTs are to be catered for in the district health budget that’s to be funded by their partners.
“They will be paid and will get protective gears very soon”, he said.
“We are to get funds very soon from Makerere University school of public health, Lutherland World Federation (LWF) United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) African Medical And Research Foundation (AMREF) and Nama Wellness to help us in the fight against the virus.
According to Dr Mulindwa, Mukono district has 1048 active VHTs and are more than prepared for this pandemic.
It’s not only in Mukono where VHTs are demanding for salaries and protective gears but also VHTs from other districts of Kampala, Wakiso ,Buikwe and elsewhere are crying for the same.
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