This summary highlights the community sensitization programs during the integrated community case management (iCCM) rollout in Katakwi District, Uganda.
In Uganda, facility-based services are inadequate to provide access to treatment, and most importantly, not within the crucial window of 24 hours after onset of symptoms. If child mortality is to be sufficiently reduced, there is a need to address the challenge of access to care for sick children. In addition, most sick children present with more than one disease condition and will need an integrated approach to care. With adequate training, an uninterrupted supply of medicine and equipment, support supervision, community health workers can retain the skills and knowledge necessary to provide the appropriate care. The ICCM strategy however, is reliant among others things on appropriate demand for services from the community and thus community mobilization & sensitization are key prior to implementation for continued ownership and demand for the services.
• To call for leadership support at all levels for ownership and sustainability.
• To create community awareness and subsequent demand for VHT services.
• To develop innovative strategies for VHT support and motivation at all levels.
This involved meeting leaders and VHT supervisors at various levels. A district inception meeting involving the DHT and the district leadership was held. The team then met VHT parish coordinators/ supervisors together with key health facility staffs. The team has also held sensitization meetings with the sub-county leadership involving the SAS, CDO, LC3 among others. The LC1s for respective village were also engaged more so in the selection of VHTs. We had a radio talk show together with the district leadership to address key issues on childhood illnesses and the importance of ICCM program. A drama group utilized a skit that worked as a DJ mention as well on malaria to further emphasize the need for awareness and action.
Key issues discussed
a) DHT and District leadership
• Leadership and ownership of the iCCM program
• Participate in sensitization and guiding of communities in selecting VHTs for iCCM
• Participate in training of health workers who in turn train VHTs
• Proper management of VHT referrals
• Manage iCCM medicine and commodity quantification and supply chain
• Use community health data in planning and decision making
b) Sub-county / LC1 leadership
• Advocate and mobilize communities to demand and utilize iCCM
• Select VHTs for iCCM.
• Encourage data sharing and use in VHT
• Strategies and innovations to motivate and incentivize VHTs distributing medicines
c) Sub-county VHT coordinators/ supervisors
• Support communities to select VHTs for iCCM
• Train, mentor, and supervise VHTs
• Manage medicine supply chain
• Summarize VHT records and report to the HSD
• Maintaining good linkage with communities
– The terrains in Ongongoja and Okulonyo sub-counties were difficult to navigate especially after the rains, the team utilized motorcycles to reach some cut off/ hard to reach villages.
– The WVU Audit process paralyzed field activities, leaders from only 9 sub-counties out of the 12 have been met and sensitized, the rest of sub-county leaders will be met in due course.
The sensitization exercise is moving smoothly and the ground is getting leveled for ICCM. This is going to be a continuous process to build momentum at all levels for successful implementation of the program.