Please note this program is an unpaid global health education program. There is a program fee required to participate. This program fee pays for on-site services such a lodging, language classes (if relevent), 24/7 emergency support, coordination of rotations and/or placements, and on-site staff. CFHI is a nonprofit organization committed to fair-trade partnerships around the world.
About one in four Ugandans live in poverty – 37.7% of Uganda’s population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Life expectancy is only 59 years, while Uganda’s infant and mortality rate are among the highest in the world. Less than half of Uganda’s population has access to health care, prompting many to turn to traditional healers rather than biomedicine. The leading causes of death are HIV (17% of all deaths), pneumonia (10.5%), malaria (6.2%), and diarrheal illness (5.8%). Although each of these illnesses are readily treatable, Uganda is simultaneously faced with a shortage of 1.5 million health workers. To address this shortage, Uganda created a “Village Health Team (VHT)” program in 2001 in which transnational NGOs, including Omni Med (CFHI’s partner), train community health workers. These VHTs are invaluable health educators within rural villagers and make a real difference in the health of some of the world’s poorest people. Be a part of this movement and see it in action!
Uganda’s health system is being built, in part, by non-profits working with the government. Key components of the Ugandan healthcare system are Community Health Workers, part of what global health experts call “Human Resources for Health.” Community Health Workers go by many names worldwide, including health promotors and village health workers, and are helping with the global shortage of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. In Uganda, these community health workers, called VHTs, are elected by their local villagers and serve three primary roles: to spread basic preventive health information, to refer sick patients to local or sometimes distant health centers and to track health information for the Ministry of Health. VHTs play a vital role in Uganda’s health system and Omni Med has perfected the approach of garnering the support of international volunteers to train and maintain VHTs.
Omni Med trains 1 VHT for every 25-30 households locally through a week-long course and then spends considerable time maintaining them. Participants will accompany the VHTs on home visits to facilitate transfer of the most powerful preventive health tool-knowledge. The most effective health measures are also the most basic and are applied in the home. Volunteers will help to maintain the VHTs’ knowledge base by teaching them in quarterly meetings and some will conduct initial trainings for new VHTs as well. Participants will also see and participate in the full scope of Omni Med’s local activities, including construction of protected water sources, construction of cookstoves and distribution of insecticide treated nets (ITN). Omni Med has long believed in studying its impact, having conducted two clinical trials measuring program efficacy thus far. Participants will be exposed to, and will help facilitate, ongoing research initiatives while there.