Kampala: As the country is still grappling with the escalating Covid-19 cases, the government has launched the national community engagement strategy for the Covid-19 response to fight the virus right from the village level.
The ceremony was presided over by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda on Tuesday at Hotel Africana in Kampala, who also doubles as the overseer of all COVID-19 response activities on behalf of the president as Gov’t’s head of the business.
The health workers selected from the existing Village Health Teams (VHTs), will be paid sh100,000 monthly as an allowance. They will also be provided with backpack bags, thermometers, sanitizers, soap, face masks, gumboots, uniforms, smartphones, umbrellas and rapid test kits among others.
While launching the programme, Dr Rugunda said with the country now at stage four of the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey was meant to ensure that all people are aware, empowered and are participating actively in the prevention and control of the disease.
“We are formally calling upon as well as handing over the ownership and responsibility to control this pandemic to individual Ugandans, to individual households and individual communities. This is the power to the people to defeat Covid-19,” he said.
Rugunda also revealed that the country was now at phase IV of the transmission of the virus, in which, at least the majority districts in the country have experienced community spread.
Omaswa, who is also the Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), said the strategy will ensure that the communities are mobilized, aware and are taking ownership for personal responsibility in implementing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) against COVID-19.
In the same vein, Dr Joyce Kaducu, the Minister of State for Primary Healthcare, said the strategy was targeting the community and households to empower the households to be responsible and accountable for their health.
”The strategy will address the long-held vision of the ministry of health and government, which is aimed at establishing a strong people-centred and integrated community health and primary health program in the country,” she noted.
She further added that the introduction of payment for one community health worker in every village will mark a new beginning for the VHTs who have since 2000 been rendering unpaid service to the communities.
“Today’s launch of the community engagement strategy is going to make a new beginning for VHTs because the government has now decided and committed to ensuring VHTs in each village receives an allowance to enable them to get committed and allocate time to work for the communities,” she said.