More than 1,000 bicycles are being given out free of charge to Village Health Team (VHT) coordinators in Uganda as part of Malaria Consortium’s Strengthening Uganda’s Response to Malaria (SURMa) project.
The bicycles are being provided to help the coordinators collect and deliver the supplies they need from health facilities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, so that the health workers they oversee can continue to deliver their integrated community case management (iCCM) activities effectively. The bicycles will also help the coordinators deliver essential information on malaria and COVID-19 to communities, and enable them to compile their reports more easily.
The distribution began last month, funded by UK aid through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), under the overall stewardship of the National Malaria Control Division of the Ministry of Health in Uganda.
A total of 1,059 bicycles are being distributed to Village Health Team (VHT) coordinators in 27 districts of the Acholi, Lango and Karamoja sub-regions of Uganda. The distribution is taking place in separate batches, with 589 bicycles being given out initially, and the remaining 470 being handed out this week. The distributions are being conducted under the leadership of the chairpersons of the Mass Action Against Malaria (MAAM) taskforces, with support from other district officials.
At the launch events for this initiative, district leaders pledged their support for the SURMa project, the work of the VHTs and iCCM implementation, as together they are extending essential healthcare services to children under five in the most critical time of their growth and development. The SURMa project aims to build community-level capacity to diagnose and treat malaria and other common illnesses, and improve reporting mechanisms and data use.
At the distribution in Agago district, District Health Officer Dr. Emmanuel Otto told the VHT coordinators: “Use these bicycles for picking up iCCM commodities for your parishes from the facilities and submission of iCCM reports, as well as creating awareness on malaria and COVID-19 in your parishes.” District council Vice-Chairman Hon Morris Ocana called on the health workers to “use the bicycles to reduce the cases of death related to pregnancy in your community”.
The VHT coordinators were grateful for the distribution of the bicycles. “With the country on high alert due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the distribution of bicycles is timely as it will enable us to easily reach out to our colleagues for iCCM reports, deliver supplies and most importantly now address concerns of coronavirus,” said one of the coordinators in Omoro district.
Watch a video from the Nwoya distribution below:
Read more about our SURMa project here