Challenges Faced by Village Health Teams (VHTs) in Amuru, Gulu and Pader Districts in Northern Uganda

Open J Prev Med. 2014 Sep;4(9):740-750. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2014.49084.

Abstract

Primary health care provision through innovative community level interventions such as the Village Health Team (VHT) concept in Uganda can be a rational way of achieving universal access to healthcare. This cross-sectional study interviewed 150 VHT members and 16 key informants in three districts in Northern Uganda to establish the roles of VHTs, the service gaps encountered and the measures in place to address these gaps. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS 16.0. Direct content analysis of themes of transcribed qualitative data was conducted manually for common codes. The majority of the respondents 64.29% (n = 72) reported to have been VHT volunteers for more than 5 years. Among the roles were community mobilization reported by 99.1% (n = 111) and home visiting of individuals reported by 97.3% (n = 109). Lack of transport, motivation, adequate skills and community appreciation with nearly no measures in place to counteract the challenges was reported by almost all respondents. Although the VHT concept can be a significant means of achieving universal access to primary health care, extensive community involvement and motivation of the volunteers are highly needed for a maximum benefit.

Keywords: Gaps; Measures; Roles; VHT; Volunteer.