Village Health Teams and Health Promotion in Rural Communities in Uganda: A Case of Katine Sub-County Soroti District

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Uganda Christian University
The study on Village Health Teams and Health Promotion in Rural Communities in Uganda was stimulated by numerous challenges facing the VHTs, delays at the health centres, increasing morbidity and mortality rate due to lack of medicines and late patient arrival at the health centres, and the absence of social work’s supporting role in the health promotion at the village level. This study aimed at assessing the effectiveness of VHTs in promoting health in rural communities in Katine sub-County, Soroti District. It had four objectives namely; (i) Establishing people's perception about VHTs' role in health promotion. (ii) Assessing the waysin which VHT services have improved health practices in the community (iii) understanding the challenges faced by the VHTs in health promotion, and (iv) Exploring the supportive role of social work to the VHTs in health promotion. A purely qualitative research approach was used. An open-ended interview guide and FGDs were used to collect primary data. A total of 25 out of 29 participants participated in the study. The data were cleaned, categorized under themes and sub-themes, and analyzed using Nvivo v.11. The bio-data were analyzed using Stata v.13. The data were presented following the research objects and themes. The findings revealed that participants were aware of the roles VHTs play in health promotion. The VHTs have also significantly improved health practices. However, cultural impediments still affect health promotions. The VHTs still face myriad of challenges including; limited facilitation, limited training, and disrespect from the community. The supportive roles of social workers can help enhance the performance of VHTs even at the village level, especially considering the community needs and coordinating/collaborating with the government on addressing health-related issues. The study recommends that there should be an urgent increase in the health sector funding and subsequently, the health centres. Additionally, improved funding, medical supplies, and operational equipment like gumboots, bicycles, gloves, etc. for the VHTs. Enhancement of VHT training so that they can be more competent. Furthermore, set up a health care section at every health center specifically for senior citizens because VHTs struggle to reach them with the services they need. Finally, integration of social workers in HP even at the village level.
Masters dissertation.