Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kasambiika: a VHT with a passion for health

It has been a great summer for every member of the UVP WASH Team in Kasambiika; one that would not have been possible without the help of proactive members in the community. Between mobilizing for events and advocating for UVP’s cause, among other things, the VHTs and other local leaders have been especially valuable to our work. The 10 active VHTs in Kasambiika I & II consisted of motivated men and women, eager to help out our team in any way they could. Naigaga Robinah Kabaale, one of the original two VHTs in Kasambiika II, was one of the most active and valuable to UVP and our team throughout the last two months.

This picture of Naigaga Robinah Kabaale was taken after
our safe water chain sensitization at the Kasambiika II
Catholic Church on 23 July 2015.
Robinah is currently one of six Village Health Team (VHT) members in Kasambiika II, and is 52 years of age. She lives with her husband, Kabaale Edward, and her four children in Kasambiika II -- just down the road from a the Kasambiika Health Center. She is passionate about health and sanitation in her community and throughout Uganda and has always been eager to do work in a health-related field. She began her work in Primary Health Care (PHC) and slowly became one of Kasambiika’s medicine distributors, as well as the government net distributor for the community. In 2013, with the arrival of UVP in the village, the local leader was contacted to hold a meeting with the UVP staff to elect and initiate VHTs to aid in the organization’s work. Robinah was named one of the two VHTs for Kasambiika II, and is now a certified VHT, along with being certified in PHC and Drug Distribution.

She was drawn to the work and mission of UVP because it mirrored her passion for health and sanitation improvement in her village and surrounding areas. This made her very interested in being involved with the interns and staff, seeing UVP as a platform for her to continue working in a field she has come to love. She specifically mentioned Titus and Maureen as two figures in UVP’s staff that were pivotal in her increased presence in the local public’s health. Additionally, Robinah credits UVP for helping her learn a lot more in terms of health -- not just knowledge, but also practical skills she can share with fellow villagers. For example, her knowledge of tippy taps and personal hygiene has grown to the point where she has built household tippy taps for many other homes in Kasambiika. She feels confident in not only helping build, but educating on maintenance and proper usage of this common hand washing facility.

UVP has helped Robinah in meeting new friends and colleagues that share her interests in health, as well as network in health fields throughout the area. She attributes her adept ability to associate and connect with others, a skill we have all witnessed this summer, to her training and experience with UVP. We have all experienced Robinah’s passion, hospitality, and ability to mobilize others to help UVP. Robinah says that the summer interns she has worked with have all been great and she is thankful that they have come to her village to work - despite wanting them all to stay longer.

She has seen increased health in her village since UVP’s Kasambiikan beginnings in 2013, but still sees much more room for improvement in years to come. Despite the fact that UVP will finish the three-year Healthy Village program in Kasambiika next May, she hopes the organization will continue to help out in any way they can.

Robinah has been an integral part of this summer, always attending UVP and other health-related events, as well as her constant efforts to help mobilize for our sensitizations. She is certainly a role model for others! We are very reluctant to leave the village Kasambiika and Robinah, but our experience has not been taken for granted, and we all hope to maintain contact with Robinah and the other members of Kasambiika we have become so close with. We wish Robinah and the rest of Kasambiika all the best with their health and other endeavors.

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