Community Health Worker peer supporter shares her experience
Peer to peer support amongst community health workers (also referred to as VHTs) is one of the innovations that we have come with under maternal and newborn studies over the years. We came up with a super VHT at parish level to offer peer support to other VHTs in all the villages under a particular parish. Here below we bring you reflections from a Super VHT under the just ended MANEST study in eastern Uganda, as narrated to Moses Kyangwa.
“My name is Nantale Rukia. I joined MANEST in January 2013 and am excited to have been trained in maternal and new born care practices and this has enabled train and support other VHTS in various villages where MANEST operated ; I believe I am contributing much to reducing maternal and newborn morbidity in my parish.
Iam also excited because through MANEST I have been able to reach and change many mothers’ mind sets and this has improved their way of life.
Our intervention has transformed the quality of life of mothers and now they jealously protect their newborns from all kinds of infections especially around the time of birth and after.
We received a five day training from the district trainers with support from national level and Makerere University School of public health. The training was interesting since it was conducted mainly in our native Lusoga language with a lot of practical demonstrations, role plays, small group and plenary discussions to enable skills development.
We sensitize the pregnant women on the importance of birth preparedness, proper maternal and newborn care and delivery from health facilities.We also register women of child bearing age, identify pregnant women and make five home visits – two before delivery and three in the first week after birth. Through this, we promote proper care for mothers and newborns because over the years mothers have been losing babies at the time of birth and immediately after. But now the mothers are doing the right things at every stage.
During the community dialogue meetings, we also encourage mothers to test for HIV/AIDS during antenatal visits, and for those who disclose their status, are encouraged to adhere to the ARV treatment for mothers and babies. In addition, we also promote awareness and use of family planning services.
After our several interventions now communities are responding positively because it is to their advantage to save lives other than losing babies and babies because of preventable causes.”
Nantale Rukia has turned her home into a community training centre for maternal and newborn health care