Friday, October 2, 2009

The Last VHT Trainings - Bugabula and Walukuba

We have now completed teh training of all five Healthy Villages Village Health Teams (VHTs). Red Cross trained each of them in a two-day training, encompassing: malaria, HIV/AIDs, the “Safe Water Chain” (from source to drinking point, how to keep water safe and clean) and waterborne disease, immunization (schedules, and its importance), some nutrition, sanitation and hygiene and the diseases that stem from a lack therein, and probably a couple other things that I am currently forgetting.

In addition to these issue-particular topics, they receive training on how to be health workers – the best way to talk to ask questions and relay information, how to advise people to seek further medical help, where they ought to advise people to go, etc.

The trainings also lay much emphasis on acting as model citizens to the community. The VHT members are given a laundry list of small, feasible sanitation and health measures to implement at their own house: an outside dish-drying rack, a large, protected trash pit, a tippy-tap outside their latrine, etc. Having implemented these measures themselves, (ensured by Red Cross and UVP follow-up), the VHT members shall then concentrate on spreading the gospel to their neighbors.

Something awesome: Red Cross also, during the course of the two latest trainings, had VHT members create a “village map.” The maps indicate households, important landmarks, crops, etc. Importantly, the maps also indicate which households do not have latrines, and how many children under 5 live at each household. These maps will be really helpful to us, and to the VHT, in the course of this next year’s work. Even now, we are working on a latrine campaign, in partnership with JIDDECO, and because of these maps we know now precisely which households need to build latrines, and can focus our efforts accordingly.

An anecdote: It was really wonderful to see the Bugabula team creating their village map. (I missed the creation of Walukuba’s map!) They first did a small version in the dirt, everyone working together – and arguing together – over the precise areas of road intersection, location of trees, whether the church was closer to this well or that mosque, etc. Then they did a much, much larger (about 15 feet lengthwise, 10 feet across) map in the dirt again, and this time used little yellow fruits to mark the each house, and even smaller green fruits to mark latrines. Mugaya, the VHT chair and also the chair of the village, was instrumental in this phase; he knew exactly who lived in each house, their names and their children’s names, if they had a latrine, which household might or might not share their latrine, and seemingly all other details of each household’s life and family. Finally, having completed this huge, dirt version of the map (outlined in fine, light gray charcoal ash, which contrasted beautifully with the red-brown dirt – im sorry I have no picture), a smaller group of VHT members copied the details onto a large paper map of the village. I then took this map home to copy out a UVP-version, before returning theirs.

The top right picture in this blog is from the Walukuba training.

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