Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health has been asked to consider giving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a risk allowance to Village Health Teams (VHTs).
Dr Diana Nambatya, the Deputy Country Director Living Goods said VHTs have been the least considered in terms of safeguarding them against infection and yet they have been given a role of linking asymptomatic cases that deteriorate into mild or severe infection into care.
She said the VHTs like other health workers should receive an incentive on top of ensuring that their safety is guaranteed just as what they are doing for front line medical workers. As of now, VHTs are only given gloves and cloth masks.
Nambatya says at Living Goods, they have explored a programme where they pay VHTs depending on the level of effort they put into their work. The same she says can be emulated by the Ministry of Health.
Nambatya who was delivering a donation of PPE, handwashing stations and COVID-19 VHT guidelines to Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng to be supplied to seven high COVID-19 risk districts, said the discussions currently happening to come up with pay for VHTs is timely considering that the World Health Organization has considered volunteerism is healthcare ineffective.
However, though there is a push for a risk allowance for VHTs, Dr Richard Kabanda the Commissioner in charge of Health Promotion at the ministry says the government cannot afford this allowance and full PPE for health workers.
According to Kabanda, a cloth mask for a VHT is enough since they are not clinically involved in the diagnosis of cases.
According to latest test figures, a total of 434 new cases have been recorded whereby only eight were returnees and truck drivers tested at different border points. The rest were alerts and contacts picked from the community. Cumulatively Uganda has to date recorded 12201 positive cases.