Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Accepting Applications for Summer Public Health & International Development Internship in Uganda - Summer 2013

About Uganda Village Project
The Uganda Village Project (UVP) is an international public health organization that works with people of Iganga to promote public health and sustainable development in the rural communities of Iganga, in southeast Uganda.

Summer 2013 Internship Opportunity
We are currently accepting applications for our Summer 2013 internship program. Interns spend 8-9 weeks living and working in a village in rural Iganga District, Uganda, gaining experience in public health, community education, and international development. Interns work in diverse teams composed of Ugandan and non-Ugandan team members. Interns will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities in several focus areas, including water, sanitation, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, malaria, and reproductive health. 
Learn more about our internship program here: http://www.ugandavillageproject.org/get-involved/summer-internships/

Intern Qualifications
We are looking for individuals who are passionate and have experience in public health, medicine, or international development. We give extra consideration to individuals who have prior experience working in developing and low-resource settings. Ideal applicants are those who have a strong interest in development and/or global health and are looking for a cross-cultural and entrepreneurial opportunity to work in a rural setting. All interns must be at least 18 years old. Historically, interns have come from all around the world as medical students, graduate students, undergraduate students, and professionals. 

Internship Program Dates
  • Team Leaders: Monday, June 17, 2013 – Tuesday, August 20, 2013 (9 weeks)
  • All Interns: Thursday, June 20, 2013 – Saturday, August 17, 2013 (8 weeks)
Internship Fundraising Requirement
Once accepted, all interns are required to fundraise $2,000 USD for UVP, in addition to a deposit of $500 USD. The deposit is refundable upon successful completion of the program. This sum includes a donation towards UVP's programs in Uganda as well as pick-up and drop-off at Entebbe Airport, orientation costs, room and board, in-country transportation, food, and Uganda-based staffing costs. All interns are required to individually purchase airfare to and from Entebbe Airport in Uganda.

Application Deadline
The deadline for applications for the Summer 2013 internship is February 1, 2013 at 11:59PM PST. In order to apply, there are two steps:
  • 1) Complete the online application at http://bit.ly/SbEItX
  • 2) Submit your CV and essay questions via email to internships@ugandavillageproject.org — instructions on both are on the last page of the online application
Email us at internships@ugandavillageproject.org
Learn more about the internship: http://www.ugandavillageproject.org/get-involved/summer-internships/
Visit us at http://www.ugandavillageproject.org.
Follow us on twitter: @uvp

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mosquito Control District From Utah Sponsors Malaria Prevention in Uganda!

by Gary Hatch

 I am the director of a mosquito control district in Utah.  We have had an education program in the elementary schools in our county for many years.  Currently about 5,000 elementary students go through our program each year. Katie Albornoz was a seasonal employee for our district and also studying  Public Health at the University of Utah.  For her internship she wanted to work with the district to enhance our education program and do something that would have an impact on malaria.   She started Students Against Malaria (S.A.M.).  We started teaching in the high school and middle school science classes about mosquitoes and other insects that spread disease and discussed malaria at length in the lesson.  
Katie had volunteers from each school that raised money for one week in February, 2012 to buy bed nets.  All funds raised by the students went toward the bed net purchase.  She obtained corporate sponsors to cover the cost of operation and to send two people to Uganda.  Katie and a science teacher, Reece Gurney, from the school that raised the most money were to go.  Because Katie gave birth to a son just a couple of weeks before we were to travel,  I was able to make the trip in her place.

We felt it was important for us to see firsthand the great work of the Uganda Village Project (UVP) and also see the issues that they face.  The UVP staff was wonderful to work with and very accommodating.  They took us into a number of villages and taught us the many aspects of the programs that they are trying to implement.  We were able to make a tippy tap, visit a recovering fistula patient, see the sanitation work being implemented and talk to villagers about the shallow well that UVP helped build.

The bed net program was our greatest interest and we were able to see how the program is administered and participate with them as nets were distributed in a few villages.  We went with a few of the VHT’s to do inspections on homes to make sure the nets are being used and used properly.

Uganda is a beautiful country with wonderful people.  Our visit there was a life changing experience and gave us greater resolve to continue to work with UVP and grow S.A.M.  It truly helped us understand the great work being done by UVP and showed us that we can make a difference in the lives of individuals. We are currently looking for another intern for this next year and are trying to add more schools to the program.  We look forward to our continued relationship with the Uganda Village Project.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Board Position Available: Marketing & Communications Chair

Use your marketing expertise to make a meaningful impact in the lives of rural Ugandans. The Uganda Village project is seeking a Marketing & Communications Chair to join our Board of Directors.


- Publicity & media relations
- Create and manage marketing collateral
- Collaborate with in-country staff on e-newsletters, communications to volunteers
- Lead donor appeals
- Social Media (blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
- Create and manage program documents (manuals, forms, etc.)
- Participate in monthly executive board meetings.

All Executive Board members are expected to participate in the annual executive board member meeting and commit to minimum fundraising requirements.


Marketing and communications professionals with a minimum of 2 years of professional marketing experience in a non-profit or corporate capacity. Knowledge and access to Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop) is desired, but not necessary.

To apply, please send a resume, brief cover letter and professional writing sample to director@ugandavillageproject.org to apply. Further questions are welcomed. – Estimated time commitment 4 hours/week. This is a volunteer position.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ensuring Safe Access to Water

Patrick Bakulambe 68, is a resident of Kazigo A village, one of UVP’s newly launched Healthy Villages. Bakulambe took some time out of his garden to take us around the village showing us the places where his family gets water for domestic use.
Kazigo A is one of the many villages in Iganga district that falls below 60 % access to safe water. Though they have 3 government bore holes and one shallow well sunk by the Red Cross, the plush green vastness of the village keeps the east side secluded from amenities. They walk for over a kilometer to fetch water at the shallow well and two kilometres to the closest borehole. When it’s too tiring to carry the heavy jerrycans, the villagers from the east side of Kazigo A are forced to get water from open wells that surround their homes.

A well in the east part of the village will allow 80 households, that is a population of about 500-600 people to have access to safe water. UVP is currently working in Kazigo A to increase their sanitation levels, with increased sanitation levels (i.e. increased latrine coverage, tippy taps, plate stands and trash pits), infectious diseases can be prevented. In the future, we hope to provide the north side of the village with a UVP shallow well ensuring they have safe access to water.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stories from the Field: Family Planning Services in Kidaago A

By Maureen Nakalinzi 

Kidaago A is one of our Healthy Villages located in Nambale Subcounty in Iganga District. Because this village is far away from the road, accessing health services like family planning is very difficult since women have to walk very long distances to access these services. When we told them we will be conducting family planning outreaches, they were so excited and grateful. On the day of the outreach, we found them already lined up because they were afraid that the medicines will not be enough and some of them would miss out. However, we informed them that we had enough supplies to cover them. Thanks to the people who donate generously for these programs, we are able to extend both short term and long term family planning services to these women and men in this remote village.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Now Accepting Applications for January - February 2013 interns!

Uganda Village Project: Now Accepting Applications for January - February 2013 Interns!
About Uganda Village Project

The Uganda Village Project (UVP) is an international public health organization that works with people of Iganga to promote public health and sustainable development in the rural communities of Iganga, in southeast Uganda. The organization represents a network of partnerships bridging disciplines and sectors working to innovate and support locally specific solutions that draw together multiple stakeholders for results-based programming.

January-February 2013 Internship Opportunity

We are currently accepting applications for the January-February 2013 internship program. Interns spend 6 weeks working with rural communities in Uganda to help implement sanitation, nutrition, and/or public health monitoring & evaluation programs. As interns, you will work and live in teams in a villages that are part of our "Healthy Villages" program which addresses the most pressing healthcare concerns of each community.
Our interns work in teams made up of 4 international interns and 2 Ugandan interns. These teams will do a variety of activities which may include the following:
  • Conduct a follow-up needs assessment
  • Gather feedback through community meetings on previous work
  • Conduct health care initiatives of their own (e.g., HIV/AIDS testing days, Safe Water Education days)
  • Work with sub-county and district officials to improve medicine supply chains
  • Organize multiple healthcare initiatives (often working in collaboration with other NGOs, CBOs, and government officials)
  • Work with local health centers to which their village is assigned
You can read more details, photos, and FAQs about our internship program here: http://bit.ly/uQwGHi

Intern Qualifications

We are looking for individuals who are passionate and have experience in public health, medicine, or international development. We give extra consideration to individuals who have prior experience working in developing and low-resource settings. Ideal applicants are those who have a strong interest in development and/or global health and are looking for a cross-cultural and entrepreneurial opportunity to work in a rural setting.

We accept undergraduate and graduate students (over 18 years of age) and professionals. Past volunteers have come from a wide range of disciplines, including, but not limited to pre-medical, medical, pre-law, law, anthropology, agriculture, economics, nursing, pharmacy, engineering, and public health students, as well as nurses, doctors, engineers, and business professionals.

Internship Program Dates

January 8, 2013 - February 19, 2013

Internship Fundraising Requirement

Once accepted, all interns are required to fundraise $1,500 USD for UVP, in addition to a deposit of $500, for a total of $2,000 USD. The deposit is refundable upon successful completion of the program. This sum includes a donation towards UVP’s programs in Uganda as well as pick-up and drop-off at Entebbe Airport, orientation costs, room and board, in-country transportation, food, and Uganda-based staffing costs. All interns are required to individually purchase airfare to and from Entebbe Airport in Uganda.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications for the January-February 2013 internship November 27, 2012. In order to apply, there are two steps:
  • 1) Complete the online application at http://bit.ly/SbEItX
  • 2) Submit your CV and essay questions via email to internships (at) ugandavillageproject.org — instructions on both are on the last page of the online application
Questions? Email us at internships (at) ugandavillageproject.org 
Follow us on twitter: @uvp

Monday, October 15, 2012

Calling for Board Position Applications -- Assistant Director & Marketing/Communications Chair!

The Uganda Village Project is excited to open applications for two volunteers to join our Board of Directors -- the Assistant Director of the Board and the Marketing & Communications Chair. Read below for details!


Our Vision
We envision a future in which all Ugandan communities will have the means to effectively create and implement their own health and development solutions.

Our Mission
To facilitate community health and well-being in rural Uganda through improved access, education, and prevention.

We strive to uphold this mission in the following ways:

  • Working on project development in collaboration with our local non-governmental and governmental partners in Iganga District, as well as the communities involved in the projects
  • Advocating for community health and development through networking inside and outside the district, and supporting efforts on the ground by local partners
  • Focusing on understanding the epidemiology and etiology of public health problems in Iganga in order to inform and support direct service projects
  • Sustainable public health and development programs that have real impact in communities
  • Culturally-appropriate project design
  • Interdisciplinary long and short term volunteer teams of professionals and students which seek to support on the ground efforts of Uganda Village Project and its partners
  • Learning about and experiencing the culture and daily lives of the Ugandan people
  • In-depth planning, development, and evaluation to ensure outcomes are achieved

Our Goals
Our goals reflect each of our areas of focus: healthcare, clean water, orphan support, and capacity building.

  • Expand awareness regarding HIV/AIDS among at-risk populations in Iganga District
  • Increase availability of sustainable clean water solutions for communities who are currently lacking them
  • Improve the living conditions of HIV orphans in Iganga District
  • Create opportunity for pre-professional and professional students and other skilled volunteers from resource-rich countries to visit a resource-limited country and get hands-on clinical experience and exposure to issues in public health/tropical medicine
  • Support provision of healthcare and preventive health education to underserved populations in Iganga
  • Continue to build an effective public health NGO that assists local governmental and non-governmental partners in achieving sustainable programming goals using international resources

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR - Estimated time commitment 8-12 hours/week

- Assist Director with responding to e-mail inquiries regarding the organization, maintain and respond to all e-mails received at the organizational account;

- Organize annual and monthly meetings of officers, and attending such meetings whenever possible. Leading the meeting in the absence of the Director;

- Leadership of officers in coordination with Director to delegate tasks and ensure that tasks are successfully accomplished;

- Help officers to accomplish tasks by looking for and brainstorming opportunities for organizational growth, raising awareness/publicity , achieving fundraising goals, strengthening donor and alumni relations;

- Assist in website development and helping to update web communication mechanisms such as Twitter, Facebook, and our blog regularly;

- Act as co-admin for e-mail lists and online groups;

- Edit organizational materials such as manuals, brochures, and reports;

- Respond to weekly reports and urgent notices sent from Uganda-based staff and weighing in on decisions and discussions on the officers' email list;

- Assist Director with organizational human resources management as needed.

- Raise or donate at least $1000 towards UVP’s work in Uganda

- Participate in monthly executive board member meetings;

- Participate in the annual executive board member meeting.

MARKETING / COMMUNICATIONS CHAIREstimated time commitment 4 hours/week

- Maintain general documents used by the organization;

- Build on current organizational memory processes such as project area manuals, orientation manuals, administrative documents;

- Actively pursue ways to increase publicity for the organization through online and print media and other means;

- Respond to queries from outside individuals such as journalists who request information from us;

- Creating and updating all publicity materials (press releases, pamphlets, program summary sheets, etc.) for donors, volunteers, and partner organizations;

- Collaborating with in-country staff on e-newsletters to members of our contact list to share UVP's current work and progress;

- Update the organizational blog and social media with publicity announcements, including weekly posts on the blog, Twitter, and Facebook page;

- Raise or donate at least $1000 towards UVP’s work in Uganda

- Participate in monthly executive board member meetings;

- Participate in the annual executive board member meeting.

Please send your resume, a brief cover letter, and a short list of references to director@ugandavillageproject.org to apply. Further questions are welcomed.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stories from the Field: Fistula Patient's Success

By Maureen Nakalinzi 

As we approach her house, we find her waiting for us at the door. She informs us she was going to her stall in the trading center when Loy called, informing her of this follow-up visit. N. Maliza attended the fistula camp last year in December and luckily for her, the repair was successful. When she left the camp, she got a small loan from her friends at the trading center and restarted her vegetable selling business that she was forced to close down when she got the fistula. She says, “Every day when I wake up the morning to a dry bed, and when I pack my vegetables to go to the market, I thank God and Uganda Village Project for giving me a new lease of life and for reaching out to me when I had lost all hope."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Final Thoughts on the Summer - Kazigo A

By Derek Bunch

The final week in Kazigo A brought about a mixture of tears and smiles. The last week was dedicated to celebrating with all of the village members who had generously helped our team this summer.  This appreciation was extended to our Village Health Team (VHT), The Kazigo A drama team, and our wonderful cook, Harriet. For each event we cooked the entire meal and surprised our guests with such things as guacamole and mango salsa, which was a first for many. Our dinners with the drama team and Harriet ended with the sound of drums, and some local traditional dance. The drama team was very helpful in teaching Lindsey, Sara and I to “move our hips.” This basically consisted of them grabbing us by the waist and twisting our hips for us while the onlookers cheered on our efforts. The most meaningful aspect of all of these dinners came from the immense amounts of love and appreciation that the villagers showed us. This final week was an encouraging indicator of the positive influence our team had made in the village and on the village residents.  Tears were not only shed by us but by the villagers as well. Our Village Health Team dinner was particularly emotional. Muzungu our very long-winded VHT member told a story comparing our relationship to a wedding ring given to a lover and how that ring will always belong to the owner and if that person asks for it back then you must give it back even though you still love the person. He explained that even though they love us and want us to stay, that they must let us leave, or in turn “give our ring back”. 

Our team had a very successful summer in Kazigo A. By the end of the summer we had held sensitization events on malaria, family planning, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, and eye care. In addition to these activities we hosted an HIV/STD drama and testing day and coordinated a borehole cleanup day among the community. Our team sold 210 insecticide treated bed nets, sold 40 tablets of Waterguard, and distributed four boxes of condoms. Our sanitation push was a success in constructing 47 tippy taps, 9 plate stands, and 10 latrine covers. We also helped to improve 5 tippy taps, 3 trash pits, and 3 plate stands. However, our most important accomplishment this summer were the strong relationships we built with the community and the positive name we made for the Uganda Village Project.

I speak on behalf of the entire Kazigo A team when I express my appreciation for the people, the residents, our friends in Kazigo A. The lessons we bring home with us will be with us for the rest of our lives. The friendships and relationships we built and the experiences are unforgettable and will provide a framework for any of our future endeavors. I want to say thanks to the entire Uganda Village Project in-country staff for all of their help this summer. We hope that our work this summer will enable them to continue the positive progress in Kazigo A. Lastly, I want to say thanks to the entire Kazigo A intern team. I had the pleasure to have worked with some of the most amazing individuals I have met in my life. This experience was unique, in that not only did we work together everyday for ten weeks but we also lived together in a house the size of many people's living room. Our team came together to accomplish a huge number of tasks this summer and we had fun in the process. With Sara’s acrobatics for the kids, Lindsey constantly trying to explain that her name was not Sharon, Naomi’s amazing cooking, and Felix’s computer, we never had a dull moment in our village. So thank you again team for an amazing summer, and thank you Uganda Village Project for enabling us to have this experience. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Community Total Lead Sanitation Update

By Titus Obbo

This summer UVP developed a new approach for community involvement in the Community Total Lead Sanitation (CTLS) program. Kidaago B is experiencing a new way in the community life. UVP interns this summer helped out to clean the bore hole together with community members. The Village Health Team and Water User Committee have set up the calendar for hygiene and sanitation in the community and defined the governing rules intended to phase out poor facilities and install hygienic ones in households. In particular, dirty jerri cans and buckets will not be allowed for use of collecting water at the well. 

Collaboration with UVP has resulted in a cascaded effect down to the households where members have waged a war against open defecation by digging pit latrines. The village has clustered households in groups of ten to help each other build a good pit latrine that can last for at least more than 15 years given the nature of the soil texture.

UVP would like to thank its interns this summer as well as donors and broader UVP family for their hard work and support!

Titus Obbo is UVP's Safe Water and Healthy Villages Program Coordinator. Titus is a graduate of Makerere University with a degree in Human Resource Management. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Eye Camp

By Maureen Nakalinzi 

It is 8am in the morning as I make my rounds around four villages in a taxi (Nakamini, Bunio, Butongole and Bulamagi) to pick up patients who will be going for eye surgery at Iganga Hospital. In all the villages, I find them seated outside together with their families waiting for me. One of them actually tells me, “I am not late today, I have kept Mzungu time and you have kept African time because you are 10 minutes late." During the taxi ride, most of them are quiet -- probably wondering what will happen during surgery -- and for those who were completely blind, probably pondering the prospects of seeing again.

We reach the hospital after a few minutes and it’s a sea of people outside. They are people surrounding every corner of the eye clinic waiting for their chance to see the doctor. The eye clinic is a very small room inside the antenatal ward which can only fit two patients and two doctors at a time. Luckily for me, since UVP has an agreement with Sight Savers International (the organization that sponsors the eye camp) and Iganga Hospital, my patients where already screened and diagnosed, so we are spared waiting in the long lines outside and asked to join those that are waiting for surgery in the next building.

The surgery room is a small room inside the maternity ward and while my patients sit on the ground in the corridor waiting for the surgeon, throngs of women in labor pass by and my patients pray silently for good outcomes for themselves and for those women. The doctor arrives at 4pm and we have been seated waiting in that corridor since morning. She apologizes for coming late and announces that she can only perform four cataract surgeries and everyone else can wait until tomorrow. Since my patients are among the first four people, they will be asked to enter one at a time for the surgery.

After 15 minutes, the first patients walk out of the tiny room. I am asked to get one of the patients a place to rest in the male ward. Unfortunately since the hospital is a very small place, there are not enough beds for every patient to sleep. Just as I try to get a bed, the doctor politely asks me to give it up because there is a patient in a more critical condition. The patient ends up sleeping under a mango tree after surgery and in the evening after all the women in the antenatal ward have been attended to, we convert this ward into “the after surgery ward” for eye care patients. Every patient that comes into that ward to rest can’t wait for the next morning when they will remove the bandages on their eyes and they will be able to see again. They keep telling me, “we don’t care about sleeping on papyrus mats for tonight, tomorrow will be a new day in our lives.”

Maureen is a Uganda Village Project Program Coordinator who works on the ground in Iganga. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Final Thoughts: Potential for Change

By Matt Cognetti

Surveying and traveling to 5 different villages around Iganga, you begin to notice obvious patterns, especially a high prevalence of child measles. On about the fourth day of surveys, I couldn’t take it any more. This was about the 80th kid with measles. I just put my head down about ready to give up and cry.

“What are these people doing, why don’t they take their children to the health center to get their free vaccination,” I said.

“Matt, they’re going to be alright, they’ll figure this out. Don’t worry so much, the potential to help themselves is there,” one of the Ugandan interns explained.

That was in the middle of July, it is now August 16, a week after my internship program and now instead of giving up. I feel like I need to go back.

Basically to sum up my time there: I received some valuable leadership experience, got sick multiple times, and learned about public health and nutritional challenges. Besides living and working among the villagers my favorite experiences include, having the opportunity to listen, observe, and collect information, directly from the people. Even though language was the biggest barrier, everyone had an opinion to share, and was happy and eager to share their problems and solutions.

The opportunities provided by the Uganda Village Project were amazing. Working with the nutrition team allowed me to begin to effect change for the people of Iganga. Unfortunately though, many big changes could not be accomplished. There is so much promise in Iganga Town, and two months does not allow us interns to do more than really observe. That’s what makes me want to come back, the numerous insights I learned, and the great potential for growth.

Working with the UVP gives all interns a taste of public health work, and believe me a few found this type of work wasn’t for them. Overall this is a really amazing working opportunity that gives interns a chance to positively effect people’s lives.

Matt was a member of the nutrition team this past summer, interning with UVP. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

UVP's Obstetric Fistula Program

By Rashad Turan Korah Thomas

Virtually unheard of in wealthier nations, obstetric fistula (Latin for hole) is an affliction of the very poor, and is predominantly caused by neglected, obstructed labour. The prolonged impaction of the baby’s head against the mother’s internal tissue results in a severe medical condition in which an opening develops between either the rectum and vagina or between the bladder and vagina causing persistent incontinence and rank odour. Though a simple surgical repair can mend most cases of obstetric fistula, most women go untreated, unaware of what it is, afraid to admit to the condition if they do, or too poor to afford the repair. Because of the impoverished, rural demographic most affected by fistula it has historically been difficult to collect accurate statistics.

In addition to the physical damage done to a woman’s body there are other ramifications of the condition. Misinformation leads to stigma that often leads to women being ostracized from their homes or communities. Relegated to the periphery of community living, these women are, effectively, removed from engaging in society and at the same time are limited in their ability to care for themselves.

Up to June UVP, in partnership with UK-based Uganda Childbirth Injuries Fund (UCIF), helped facilitate surgical repairs for 12 women from 4 different districts at the two repair camps this year. The partnership allows UVP and UCIF to remain faithful to their strengths for the greatest impact. UVP identifies women with obstetric fistula though village outreaches, health centre referrals, radio shows, and simple word-of-mouth between women. UVP then transports women to “repair camps” at Kamuli Mission Hospital, where they are repaired by surgeons from UCIF. UVP also transports one attendant for each patient and after surgery; UVP transports the women home (an important step, because if they go home by motorcycle taxi, or walk long distances, they risk re-opening their healing fistula).

Our fistula program staff then follow-up at the women’s homes to check on the repair’s success, to monitor for surgical complications, and to assist the women with further steps in the cases where the repair was not successful.

To donate to UVP and the obstetric fistula program, check out our donations page here.

Rashad Turan Korah Thomas currently serves as UVP's Country Director and is located in Iganga town. This article was taken from UVP's Semi-Annual Report for 2012. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Stories from the Field: "Tragedies" in Kazigo B

By Gloria Tran

On Thursday, July 26, two tragedies occurred simultaneously under the roof of Kazigo B.

It was a dark, but not so stormy night. Well, dark because there's no electricity of course. Four members of Kazigo B huddled in the living room around the light of a single kerosene lamp.

Simon Peter wasn't feeling well; he was thinking he had malaria. Emily and I exchanged glances: it was time to break out the malaria test. After reading the picture instructions by the light of our phones, we donned on latex gloves, alcohol-prep his finger and stabbed him with the little blue lancel needle. Poor SP needed to be stabbed twice to get enough blood. Then, we waited 15 min for the blood to migrate across the test applicator.

Meanwhile, Em visited the latrine. Suddenly I heard a shout from out in the yard. Wide-eyed with terror, Em ran in, asking if she could borrow my phone. When I asked her what was wrong, she replied, "I think something terrible just happened," and bolted back out the front door, clutching my phone as a flashlight. Dan yelled after her, "Snake bite?"

We then glanced at the white plastic malaria test piece to check its progress. With abated breath, we squinted as the fluid cleared the second line. Two strips, it's malaria! Sorry, SP!

A few moments later, Em returned with news of her own tragedy: her phone slipped out of her headband and dropped into the latrine pit. The phone had cracked into two pieces when it landed on the floor. Only the battery and cover had survived the accident. We mourned when the worst part of the tragedy suddenly dawned upon us all: we wouldn't be able to call the phone and have it ring suddenly while someone used the latrine! Noo!

 The rest of the week was the usual mix of the positives and negatives of community work.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Kazigo B teamed up with Kazigo A to help them with their sanitation push, where we went around helping as many households build Tippy Taps, plate stands, etc. as possible.

Because we only had a couple of days, we only perhaps reached 80 houses, just to get things started in the community. Despite that, I am still so impressed by Kazigo A's commitment and cooperation. That's really the thing that made the push the most successful. They must have responded to the baseline survey, community meetings and sensitizations and the hands-on workshop with the VHT... and decided that they wanted to be a part of this huge sanitation improvement campaign. I saw giant swimming-pool sized trash pits, fortified sturdy perfectionistically perpedicular plate stands (better than ours!), Tippy Taps galore! What a feeling!

Thursday, we planned for a safe water sensitization using answering Jeopardy questions as a interactive way of teaching. No one showed, apparently due to it being rice harvest season. We were disappointed, yeah, but I think we understood that mobilizing for community education is always hard work.

On Friday, we enlisted Maureen's help to talk to our community members about Family Planning. Our group of women were attentive, but also really talkative and giggly. Nice to see that women can bond about their sexuality in rural Africa as well! A question was raise about where the Implanon implant should go, and an old woman (our most loyal attendee) said "Eh! (Psh!)" raised her arm to point at her tricep, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Stories from the Field: Turtles in the Borehole Pool

By Derek Bunch

The main focus this week was our sanitation push. It was pretty successful, we travelled to many different houses. One thing we were pleased to see is that many people, since our baseline surveys, have attempted to create what they didn’t previously have. We found new trashpits, plate stands, and tippy taps all over the place! We were very impressed.

On Thursday, we had our family planning sensitization. Maureen and Rashad both showed up and we split up the men and the women. At first, no one showed up at all, but after a couple hours, people started trickling in and we eventually had a good number of people show up (about 85 in total). For the women, there was this old woman who was very, very interested in the female condom demonstration, and we all thought that that was really funny. For the men, our VHT asked a question, where he made an analogy to fighting. He was talking about how some men like to fight on and on for hours and he asked if the condoms were strong enough to last that long! Everyone was laughing at that question.

On Friday, we started our bore hole clean up in the town center. As we started draining the huge, smelly, mucky pool of water, we saw some movement in the sludge. Turns out, it was a baby turtle! We asked the kids to run and bring us a container and we put the turtle inside. We ended up finding 17 turtles in the bore hole pool! We kept them overnight and then returned them to the swamp the next day. I believe this was UVP’s first turtle rescue mission!

Derek is interning in Kazigo A village this summer. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Safety Briefing: Ebola Outbreak in Western Uganda

Those who follow the news from Uganda have likely been concerned by the reports of an outbreak of the viral hemorrhagic fever known as the Ebola virus which was first reported as resurgent in western Uganda about three weeks ago, but the outbreak was not confirmed until July 27th. (1,2) There have been about 20 cases and 14 confirmed deaths from this outbreak, most of these cases were from the same household in a village in the Kibaale district in Western Uganda, which is about 125 miles west of Kampala, a day's travel from the Uganda Village Project offices in Iganga District. Uganda has had three major outbreaks of Ebola virus in the past 12 years, the largest one in 2000 was associated with several hundred deaths. (1)

The Ebola virus is a dangerous infection that can cause symptoms of headache, vomiting, and fever, and the mortality rate for those infected by the virus is high. Because the early symptoms are quite similar to other common infections such as influenza and malaria, fear levels can be high during an outbreak. however, transmission of the virus is through direct contact with bodily fluids such as saliva or blood. Therefore, risk of transmission without close contact is low. (3)

There are no travel restrictions in effect for Uganda because of this outbreak, and we are not planning to modify any of the internship activities for Uganda Village Project based on the outbreak. Although a case has been reported in Kampala and several others are being watched there, these are patients who traveled from western Uganda to seek treatment at Mulago, the nation's largest public hospital. The infections did not occur in Kampala. Travel through Kampala for departure at the end of the internship program is not risky. The Ugandan government has encouraged people to limit contact such as handshakes, even though these are unlikely to spread the disease - Uganda Village Project also supports that stance as a good way to prevent transmission of many different types of infectious diseases.

Any friend of Uganda Village Project or the internship program is welcome to contact me at any time regarding the Ebola outbreak with any questions.

- Alison Hayward, MD
Executive Director
Uganda Village Project

1) BBC News: Museveni Warns of Ebola Threat. 30 July 2012.
2) Reuters: Ebola Outbreak Kills 13 in Uganda. 28 July 2012.
3) U.S. Embassy. Confirmed Case of Ebola Virus in Uganda. 28 July 2012.
For those interested in syndromic surveillance:
Searches for "ebola" on Google Insights in the past 30 days

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stories from the Field: Final Weeks in Kazigo A

By Naomi Muyanga

Sara and I finished the baseline surveys on Monday. Then Tuesday was the eye care and WASH sensitizations and it so happened that the VHTs did not mobilize and we had to walk around the village home to home mobilizing (I even rolled a piece of paper to act like a microphone and moved around at the last minute), but irrespective of our efforts, not more than 50 people turned up for the sensitization which was so irritating, but we had to bear it.

Wednesday and Thursday were sanitation pushes – hands on at VHTs homes from Kazigo A and B respectively. Both teams worked together to accomplish the last though it rained heavily on Wednesday and it seemed like we won’t work, as UVP staff also just dropped the materials and left but later in the evening, we started vigorously and managed to complete the task.

The community meeting where the survey results were released was a success, but still after an intensive mobilization on that very day. Titus and Patrick did a demo on safe water which was so fun where they put cow dung to mean faces into drinking water and asked whether any of the community members could take it!

Crazy, but true! - “What fun was in the blog this week?” I asked Derek, but he responded with “time’s new roman? Calibri?” I said, “What language are you speaking?” “The font was times new roman, that’s what I said!” He repeated only to realize it was a misperception of the word fun for font, everyone in the house giggled for over a minute.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stories from the Field: Borehole Improvement Day

By Lauren Smith 

Friday morning kicked off bright and early with the first Kazigo B borehole improvement day.  Approaching the borehole, shovels, pick-axes, hammer, and sunscreen in hand, we were pleasantly surprised to find the caretaker there and ready for action.  First task: dig trenches to drain the nasty puddle at the end of the borehole and clear away the brush.  Armed with enthusiasm and total confidence in our tool wielding abilities, all four of us mzungu ladies stepped up to the borehole for the first swing.  Shovel digging skills, Gloria and Emily, check.  Hoe swinging skills…well, Lauren found those could use some work.  Turns out that while the caretaker (who is most likely twice our age) could effortlessly dig a trench in a few graceful strokes, us mzungus were in need of some serious practice.  After a few amusing swings, resulting in laughter and raised eyebrows from the Ugandans present, the Ugandans took over trench digging duty.  But, while we may be in need of some lessons in the art of swinging a hoe, we can collect and place rocks like pros, shovel and swing a machete with the best of them.  SP took on fence building, and Dan played paparazzi, documenting the event with four cameras dangling from his arms at a time.  We had a great turnout. Three of our VHTs came to help, and in total, about 15 community members participated in the improvement day.  In a few short hours we’d successfully transformed a dirty and overgrown borehole into a model borehole.  Trenches dug and lined with stones, brush cleared, pedestal cleaned and fence constructed, everyone was in good spirits, proud of the results, and covered in mud.  He who is the dirtiest had the most fun!

Lauren is interning in Kazigo B village this summer. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

From Iganga to Arkansas: Former UVP intern brings Ugandan health into the high school biology classroom

By Jennifer Jehnsen

I was a Team Leader for the Uganda Village Project’s Healthy Villages Initiative in summer 2009. In Nabitovu village, we focused on education outreach about insecticide treated mosquito nets and Waterguard as well as distribution of these at a subsidized price. We also focused on training the Village Health Team with knowledge about First Aid, HIV/AIDS, obstetric fistula, and malaria. These would become the leaders of the village in terms of health. Our day to day involved planning community meetings with village, district, and church leaders and doing community outreach at health centers and at schools. My biggest challenge was getting community members to come to outreach meetings. It was hard to have any sort of advertising in terms of when these were going to take place, so we really had to rely on word of mouth for the location and times of these community events. 

UVP solidified my interest in global health, particularly in rural health, because I witnessed the lack of resources for healthcare in rural areas, specifically for primary care. I saw the health centers without medicine or doctors, the clinics with one nurse and thirty people waiting in line. I've seen similar issues in rural areas in the U.S. and believe that the lack of adequate access to primary healthcare in rural areas needs to be addressed.

Currently, I am a high school biology teacher in McGehee, Arkansas. This summer, I am teaching at the Arkansas Governor’s School, a 4-week gifted and talented program that provides students an incredible opportunity for intellectual growth and social interaction while living on a college campus. I am using the knowledge and skills that I gained from being a Team Leader to educate my students about the public health approach toward tackling neglected diseases found in the developing world. I love talking about my experience in Uganda with my students. They usually have a lot of questions about what the people are like, what the buildings are like, and what the schools are like. I like to incorporate the health issues that I worked with in Uganda into my lessons so that my students can make real life connections about the relationship between biology and health.  I share with them challenges and successes our team encountered while setting up programs to prevent malaria, HIV, and waterborne diseases in Uganda. We also discussed the importance of community educational outreach and sustainability when implementing public health programs. 
 The students created skits for educating people about malaria prevention, and designed prototypes of sand filters that will not only filter pathogens out of the water but also provide a way to dispense water without recontamination. We had discussions about the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and its affects on prevention, treatment, and testing. The final project will involve the students designing a budget and project proposal for a public health initiative that will address a tropical disease found in a developing nation. 

The main focus of my class is that epidemics of neglected diseases are not caused solely by the virus, bacteria, or protist; economic, social, and cultural factors also contribute greatly to the spread of the disease. My goal for the students is to understand the complexity of the issues in international health and that the spread of these diseases cannot be stopped simply by distributing free medications. I hope that my students will spread awareness about the issues people are facing in Uganda and like a chain reaction, more and more people will become advocates for people living in the developing world.

Jennifer Jehnsen interned with UVP in 2009 and was a team leader. She currently serves on UVP's internship task force. Since attaining a BS in Environmental Sciences and minor in Global Poverty & Practice from UC Berkeley, she has been working as a high school biology teacher in McGehee, Arkansas. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

HIV and UVP: Healthy Village Teams work to combat HIV in Iganga

By Gwendolyn Wernersbach 

HIV rates in sub Saharan African remain a major public health concern globally.  Uganda in particular is considered by many to be among the world's earliest and most compelling national success stories when it comes to combating the spread of HIV.  In recent years, Uganda experienced a decline in HIV prevalence, however, new reports show that the HIV prevalence rate has increased slightly, and that women are disproportionately affected compared to men.    

The HIV prevalence rate in Iganga is estimated to be higher than the national average by about eight percent.  Rural populations are most affected, as access to HIV testing, counseling and treatment are more difficult to come by in remote areas.  According to the Ugandan Ministry of Health, 85% of the population of Uganda does not know their HIV status, which demonstrates the impact and importance of these services.  Access to HIV counseling and testing is compounded by the fact that AIDS-related stigma and discrimination remains the single most important barrier when it comes to behavior change and public action. 

The Uganda Village Project (UVP) is helping to combat rates of HIV in rural areas of the Iganga district by providing HIV counseling and testing services through our Healthy Villages Team program.  The Village Health Teams work with local partners, including St. Mary’s, to conduct culturally appropriate outreach activities to educate communities about basic HIV prevention methods, and often incorporate dance, drama and music performances in to their messaging.  Additionally, UVP is actively involved with distributing condoms in collaboration with partner NGOs, and also administers voluntary HIV testing for villagers as a way to eliminate fear, stigma, or costs associated with travel to a clinic. 

Meet our friend Naigaga Sarah of the Nabitovu village.  Naigaga Sarah is a 34-year old mother of three children, and a proud member of the UVP Nabitovu Village Health team.  She is pictured below holding her youngest child as she waits to speak with the counselor about her results following a routine HIV test. 
Naigaga Sarah comes from a polygamous marriage, she is wife number three and the youngest wife in the home.  "We all came to test today," she said smiling.

"Since Uganda Village Project came into the village, my co-wives, my husband and myself have been testing for HIV at least once and sometimes twice every year.  As a Village Health Team member I encourage others to come for testing and mobilize the village for the HIV education sessions as well. I am happy for the opportunity Uganda Village Project and their donors have given us, by bringing testing right to the village level.  They test at the health centre as well, but it is far and walking there can sometimes be tiresome, therefore bringing testing to us is good and we are grateful."

In 2011, 1,421 HIV tests were administered in nine villages.  So far this year, as of July 2012, 1,623 HIV tests have been administered in eleven villages.  For those that test positive, they are referred to The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), their closest health center, or Iganga district hospital for follow up care and treatment.    

In these ways and many more, UVP is helping to reverse the trend of HIV in Iganga district.  We can only continue to do this important work through your help, generosity and support.  Learn more about how you can make a difference by supporting UVP’s HIV prevention efforts in Iganga here.   

Gwen is passionate about global public health and humanitarian relief efforts, both domestically and internationally. She has worked in the areas of HIV prevention, refugee health, nutrition, fitness, water and sanitation projects, and public health emergency preparedness. Gwen has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho, and holds an MPH from Emory University in Atlanta. She currently works with the American Red Cross and serves on the board as a Member At Large for UVP. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stories from the Field: Baseline Surveys, WASH Sensitizations, and HIV Drama Group

By Lindsey Anderson

On Monday, after the team leader meeting, Derek, Felix, and I arrived home and Naomi and I left for a few baseline surveys on the complete opposite side of the village. Our goal was to get as many as possible and then head home to help with our group dinner with Kazigo B before dark. We ran into one of our VHTs and he kept taking us to more houses… As dusk began to arrive, he said we only had 10 more houses for this side of the village, so we thought: why not? By the time we finished the last house, it was almost completely dark and we had no phone and no light, and our VHT left us…so we had to start the 25-30 minute walk back home. After about 5 minutes, it was pitch black. Naomi kept trying to scare me because she was saying there was someone following us and she kept grabbing my arm. Finally, we ran into Dan and Simon Peter from the Kazigo B village and they helped guide us the rest of the way home.

On Tuesday, we had our WASH sensitization at the secondary school in Nabitende. It was not as successful as some of our other sensitizations. High school kids in Uganda are very similar to high school kids in the United States. If they decided they already know the information (or just don’t want to listen), they aren’t going to hear anything that we tell them. But, I’m sure the information came across to a select few...

On Wednesday, we had our HIV sensitization with the God’s Messengers drama group, who arrived 5 hours late because of a diver mishap. When they finally arrived, Sara and I got into the back of the pickup truck (with about 20 other people crammed back there) and drove around the village mobilizing. It was a crazy experience!! We were shouting, dancing, and I even beat on a drum for a few minutes. It was a lot of fun. Once we got back, we all got together to entertain the audience by participating in the local dance! Every single one of us got the chance to tie a scarf around our waists and shake our hips to the beating drums. The audience had a lot of fun watching us, and we had a lot of fun dancing for them! 

Lindsey Anderson is interning and living in Kazigo A village this summer. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Family Planning Success Stories

By Maureen Nakalinzi

The following are four success stories about UVP's family planning services. 

For Our Children
Forty-eight year old Nabirye Alizikyi lives in Nakamini village in Iganga District. She is a mother to 10 children and she recently decided with her husband’s support to have a tubal ligation procedure done. When asked for the reasons why she had this procedure, she said, “I am disabled so I am afraid I won’t be able to look after my children very well if I continue having more children and my husband doesn’t make enough money. We also want our children to get an education hence we will concentrate on the children we have now." She was grateful for the support given by Uganda Village Project towards this accomplishment.

The Breadwinner

"I am called Naibira Zabina and I am 30 years old. I live in Nabukone Village in Iganga District.  Although I am married, I am the breadwinner of my home because my husband has three wives and he doesn’t earn enough to provide for all our basic needs. I have also always had difficulties with all my pregnancies hence the doctor counseled me and my husband to not have children any more. At first my husband did not support my choice of method, however after we were counseled by a UVP family planning services provider about the benefits of family planning, my husband gave me permission to go and have a tubal ligation procedure done. I feel happy because I will be able to plan for my family efficiently as I will not be worried of getting pregnant again." 

Spacing Our Children Out

"I am called Nakanda Jenny and I live in Nawansega village in Iganga District. I am a mother to five children. My husband and I are both farmers and we both understand that much as we want to have more children, we need to be able to plan for them and properly care for them. After we were counseled by a UVP family planning service provider, we both agreed to use the Norplant and we are both happy that we will be able to space our children very well and also meet their needs without the risk of unintended pregnancies."

Making an Informed Decision Together

Nabirye Loy is 30 years old and lives in Nakamini Village in Iganga District. Although she had planned to have six children, she now has nine children, a factor she attributes to not being able to access correct knowledge about family planning. As a result, she became afraid of using any method. But recently, thanks to the presence of UVP in her village, she was taught about family planning methods and later together with her husband; they made an informed decision to have a tubal ligation procedure done. 

Maureen Nakalinzi works as UVP's Health Villages Program Coordinator on the ground in the Iganga District.