Thursday, June 13, 2024

Living Goods Celebrates 15 Years of Saving Lives through Well-Supported Community Health Workers

Must Try

Nelson Oko
Nelson Oko
Based in Nigeria, Nelson Oko is a features editor at Real Simple where he manages the publication’s personal finance, career, product testing and pets coverage. His work has also been seen in Travel + Leisure, Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living and more.

Living Goods, a non-profit organization that trains and supports digitally-enabled community health workers (CHWs) to deliver critical health services in several African countries is celebrating its 15th anniversary on May 16th. To commemorate the occasion, Living Goods Uganda will hold a breakfast meeting at the Serena Hotel with key partners, government officials, and CHWscommonly known as Village Health Team members (VHTs) in Uganda. The event will be attended by the organization’s board and global leadership team.

We have so much to be proud of, from the many lives we have impacted to the enduring partnerships we have built, says Christine Namayanja, Living Goods Ugandas country director.

Since 2007, Living Goods Uganda has trained, supervised, digitally empowered, and supported more than 4,200 VHTs in 22 districts, and more than 4,000 through BRAC. The VHTs focus on reducing maternal and child mortality by treating malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea in children under five years and supporting healthy pregnancies. Additionally, they provide family planning counselling to women of reproductive age and mobilise communities for immunization services.

“Living Goods commitment to strengthening the health system and empowering VHTs is commendable, said Dr George Upenytho, Commissioner of Community Health at the Ministry of Health. “They have been working closely with us to support creation of strategies that will ensure that frontline health workers, including VHTs, are well-equipped to safeguard the well-being of families. We celebrate their achievements over the years and our shared vision of accessible healthcare for all.”

Uganda has more than 150,000 VHTs across the country, supported by the government and other development partners. Since VHTs were introduced in Uganda in 2001, they act as the first point of contact between households and the formal health system, creating linkages to health facilities for communities in remote areas where access is limited by barriers such as long distances, lack of transport, and unavailability of medicines/supplies.

We believe that all frontline health workersincluding VHTsneed to be well supported as part of a well-functioning health system that can prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to disease outbreaks and pandemics,” says Liz Jarman, Living Goods’ CEO.   

During the COVID-19 pandemic, VHTs played a critical role in supporting households to access health services, carried out health education and awareness, and supported contact tracing activities.

“When Living Goods supplied us with PPE materials during the pandemic, we felt really appreciated and were encouraged to continue our work,” says VHT Betty Okuku from Kawempe. “We were able to continue monitoring our clients remotely because of the phones we use.”

As Living Goods Uganda marks 15 years of service, the organization remains committed to its vision of a world where every family can easily access the healthcare they need to survive and thrive.

While there is much work yet to be done to make our vision a reality, we appreciate our invaluable government and donor partners, as well as our dedicated staff. Most of all, we are grateful for the community health workers who serve on the front lines of healthcare delivery, transforming and improving lives every day, concludes Liz.

Key Milestones and Impact over the Years

A 2014 randomized controlled trial (RCT) by independent researchers showed a 27% reduction in child mortality in areas with Living Goods supported CHWs.

In 2013, the organisation added pneumonia to their service package, in partnership with Ugandas Ministry of Health and UNICEF.

In 2015, they launched operations in Kenya and partnered with Medic to build a next-generation mobile tool that incorporated data-driven task lists and real-time performance dashboards enabling VHTs to become more effective.

In 2018, Living Goods launched an innovative Results-Based Financing mechanism in Uganda, enabling funders to buy outcomes, like treatments provided and facility births. In the same year, they expanded their portfolio to include family planning.

In 2019, Living Goods received a landmark award from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and in partnership with the health ministries of Kenya and Uganda, trained and digitally empowered CHWs to educate households about childhood vaccines, track under-immunized and zero dose children and make referrals and follow-up visits. This resulted in a significant increase in coverage in the areas where they work, with full immunization coverage improving between the baseline and endline evaluations by 36% in Uganda and 69% in Kenya. The number of children aged 6 weeks to 59 months who had never received any vaccines dropped 56% in Uganda and 70% in Kenya.

Selected by Kenya’s government as a lead technical partner supporting the selection and implementation of the country’s first electronic community health system (eCHIS).

In 2021, Living Goods expanded into Burkina Faso and in 2022 launched a new five-year strategic plan that is squarely focused on enabling government partners to improve health outcomes nationally.

Follow us on Twitter. Send us a secure tip.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Recipes

- Advertisement -

More Recipes Like This

- Advertisement -spot_img