Govt to give allowances  to village health teams

Wednesday October 21 2020
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Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda (centre), Minister Joyce Kaducu (2nd right) and other stakeholders at the launch of the community engagement strategy for Covid-19 in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO | KELVIN ATUHAIRE

By Nobert Atukunda

Government has said it will start paying a monthly allowance of Shs100,000 to village health teams (VHTs) per area of operation.

This was revealed during the launch of the National Community Engagement Strategy for Covid-19 Response in Kampala yesterday. 

Prof Francis Omaswa, the chairperson of the community engagement strategy sub-committee, said government will provide a budget of about Shs70b per year to pay the VHTs. He said the decision has been approved by the President.

Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State minister for Primary Healthcare, welcomed the development, saying it will motivate the VHTs to serve the community.

“This has been a dream for the Ministry of Health for the last 20 years…, previously, we were planning but not implementing to see how we can give money for VHTs. But now is the time to ensure that they are given some allowance. It is, of course, a continuous process, it requires a supplementary budget to be put forward and approved,” she said yesterday.
Dr Kaducu added that VHTs will be paid per village.

Justification
According to the Electoral Commission website, Uganda has at least 10,595 parishes and 70,626 villages.

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For some time now, the Health Committee of Parliament has been advocating  a small fee for VHTs as  motivation.
The VHTs will be part of the community engagement strategy for Covid-19 response whereby they will participate in surveillance and case detection, among others.

Prof Omaswa said with the community strategy, government will use the existing structures such as local councils where the village Covid-19 taskforce will create awareness, information and education, contact tracing and shielding of vulnerable members, among others.

The strategy aims at strengthening the health system in preparation for achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) as well as universal health coverage.

Aim of strategy
While launching the strategy, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister, said with the country now at stage four of the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey is meant to ensure that all people are aware, empowered and are participating actively in the prevention and control of the disease.

“The country is now at phase IV of the transmission of the virus in which the majority districts in the country have experienced community spread. Therefore, we are formally calling upon as well as handing over ownership and responsibility for the control of this pandemic to individual Ugandans,” Dr Rugunda said.

As of yesterday, Uganda had registered 97 new cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 10,788 with 97 deaths and 7,066 recoveries.

Ms Betty Amongi, the Minister for Kampala Affairs,  recently said the Covid-19 hotspots in Kampala are arcades, public transport, workplaces and slums.

About VHTS
Roles

Village health teams (VHTs) were established by the Ministry of Health to empower communities to take part in the decisions that affect their health; mobilise communities for health programmes, and strengthen the delivery of health services at household level.

natukunda@ug.nationmedia.com

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