Stories from the Field: CHW Stories During COVID-19 in Uganda

Kirribwa Ronald, Kalangala District

“I feel good that I’m a community health worker at this point in time. Before the pandemic, we used to make home visits and did not have to wear any PPE. But now everything has changed. We were given posters to sensitise communities about COVID, and to remind them to wash hands regularly. We have to put on masks and gloves when doing that. Parents have also been coming to my home to seek health services for their children. What worries me is that I no longer make home visits and some of my clients are far away and cannot easily come to me for services. Additionally, many cannot even afford to buy essentials like mama kits. But I’m thankful that you thought about us and provided free essential medicines for the children in our communities.”

VHT Cissy Nabasumba, Masaka District

“People in the community now bring children to our homes for treatment, and some still call us when their children are sick. Having free medicines has eased our work. The people in the community are happy. The biggest challenge I have faced so far is that people do not easily change behaviours, so we have to keep sensitising and educating them about hand washing and maintaining a distance from other people. Additionally, when I call clients for follow up, their phones are sometimes off. When I’m assessing children, I use a mask, gloves and keep a distance. For example, when diagnosing pneumonia, I stand at a distance and ask the caretaker to help in counting the breaths of the child. Parents are happy about the support they have received, in form of free medicines for their children. Many cannot afford to buy medicine at this time of the lockdown. I also shared the Ministry of Health helpline (which is on the COVID poster) at the start of the pandemic and three of the mothers I was giving antenatal care to called the number and were evacuated by ambulances to go to the hospital for delivery. It makes me proud that I have been able to help my community in such ways.”

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