One of Uganda’s prominent concerns is the inequalities in the burden of disease and access to health care facilities. This has become a growing concern for women, especially those living within rural areas, with 51% of the population lacking contact with public healthcare facilities. 70% of Ugandan doctors and 40% of nurses are based solely in urban areas serving only 12% of the Ugandan population. Barriers to access have arisen for a multitude of reasons including the distance to service points, perceived quality of care and the availability of drugs.
Beginning in 2008, BRAC’s community health programme was established in Uganda to improve the health status of the population in its intervention areas, with a special focus on pregnant women and children under five. This involves community-based health interventions that focus on preventive, basic curative and health promotional components.
The three main objectives of the health programme are,
- To lower morbidity and mortality among children under five from preventable diseases, and treat them at a low cost at the community level by the local volunteers called community health promoters
- To improve access to a wide range of basic health products in poor, rural areas
- To improve the micronutrient intake of children under five.
At the community level, health promoters work to prevent malaria and provide pregnancy-related care (antenatal care and postnatal care), basic curative care, family planning, immunisation, health and nutrition education (including safe water, sanitation, personal hygiene, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and acute respiratory infections). The promoters are all women and selected from their communities and they generate income through the provision of these health services.