Ensuring Communities Continue to Access Critical Health Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kampala, Thursday 16 April 2020. Living Goods is making a comprehensive commitment to supporting the Ministry of Health (MOH) in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nongovernmental organization has been partnering with the Ugandan government and networks of VHTs—known globally as community health workers—to effectively deliver community-based primary health care since 2007 and works in 19 districts.

Living Goods has already dedicated substantial staff resources that are based at the Ministry of Health Call Centre, while reconfiguring its programming to align with the new MOH guidelines to ensure that the thousands of VHTs it supports can continue delivering life-saving care. So far, the organisation has seconded 13 of its staff with a medical background to answer calls from citizens across the country at the MOH’s toll-free COVID hotlines and has helped develop and distribute IEC materials in the 19 districts where it works (Kampala, Wakiso, Mityana, Luwero, Mpigi, Masaka, Kyotera, Kalangala, Mukono, Kayunga, Jinja, Buikwe, Mayuge, Iganga, Mbale, Manafwa, Namisindwa, Sironko and Lira).

In addition, Living Goods has sent out dozens of SMS messages on COVID-19 to more than 6,000 VHTs.  On Friday April 17, 2020 at 11:00 am EAT, Living Goods will donate 2,000 two-litre bottles of hand sanitizers to the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, to support community response in Lira district. This donation is a fraction of the overall support the organisation is extending towards the COVID-19 national response (broken down below).

“This is a time like no other, and we’re gratified to support the government’s response by providing essential human and physical resources to aid in the national response,” said Emilie Chambert, Living Goods Uganda’s country director. She added, “We are also providing the 4,300 VHTs we support with free essential medicines during this crisis to ensure that nothing prevents the millions of households from accessing life-saving care for easily treatable, preventable diseases, on top of the sensitization on COVID-19.”

Living Goods believes that VHTs are essential members of the health system and are fully aligned with the MOH’s guidelines stipulating that they wear personal protection equipment (PPE) such as gloves, sanitisers, and masks as they respond to COVID-19, or while providing other primary health services during the pandemic. Living Goods has already provided the 4,300 supported VHTs with PPEs to protect them as they educate and sensitize households about COVID-19. Given that they are all digitally empowered with smartphones, the application supporting them is being updated with the new national guidelines so that they can quickly continue to support families using the “no-touch” protocols to be able to continue to assess and treat malaria, diarrhoea, and pneumonia among children under age five and support mothers with antenatal and postnatal care.

While COVID-29 is a truly unprecedented challenge for governments and communities worldwide, previous epidemics like Ebola have shown us that other preventable deaths can potentially rise while existing health system resources are diverting primary focus to fighting COVID-19.[1] Consequently, Living Goods believes there’s great promise in leveraging and expanding upon digital tools during this time, to aid not only in data collection, but to aid the government in effective decision-making.

About the organisation

Living Goods is a non-profit that saves lives at scale by supporting digitally empowered community health workers who deliver care on call – making it easy for families in need to get the care they need. Beginning its operations in Uganda in 2007 and expanding into Kenya in 2015, Living Goods works with governments and partners to ensure community health workers have access to the digital technology, medical treatments, supervision and compensation to cost-effectively deliver high quality, impactful health services. Learn more at www.livinggoods.org.

 

LIVING GOODS SUPPORT TO THE COVID-19 NATIONAL RESPONSE TO-DATE

Item
Reprinting of 600,000 IEC materials and distribution of IEC materials in 19 districts
Procure PPE and infection control items for over 4,300 VHTs
Essential medicines distributed to 4,300 VHTs
Expansion of the Capacity of the MOH Call Centre through secondment of 13 staff
Procurement of 2,000 bottles of sanitizer
Technical support to MOH to develop Covid-19 guidelines for VHTs

 

For more information, contact

Phionah Katushabe

Communications Manager

Phone: +25675268009

Email: pkatushabe@livinggoods.org

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25921597

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