by Anita Boling,Director
Using the Africa AHEAD program materials, Village Network Africa (ViNA) trained 28 Community Health Club (CHC) volunteer leaders in the rural Kibale district in Uganda in 2009. The leaders were elected by residents from 14 villages. Jihan Mandilawi, MPH and Anita Boling, RN, MSN, PhD trained the health leaders and David Kyamanywa, MSW assisted and translated. The seminar was held 8 hours a day for a week, and ViNA supplied lunch for all participants. The health volunteers were very enthusiastic and eager to learn the material. Upon completion of the seminar, CHC leaders were given certificates and supplied with a canvas bag filled with laminated Africa Ahead materials, attendance sheets and membership cards. CHC leaders who started the clubs and followed through with holding club meetings were given bikes donated by the Wheels for Life non-profit to facilitate their transportation and to attend meetings held by local nurses and a clinical director. The CHC leaders were trained recently on malaria prevention and use of mosquito nets. Following CHC meetings on malaria, ViNA and HisNets supplied 2000 family sized mosquito nets to villagers from the 14 village target area. Concomitant with the club meetings, 18 shallow wells were installed by Rotary; the Africa Ahead education complimented this major change. A Peace Corp water engineer, Caleb Fader, reported that the medical clinics now report a 98% decrease in the incidence of diarrhea. Mijumbi Gabriel, our previous local ViNA employee, reported that the community health club continues to grow and that CHC leaders remain motivated to hold the health club meetings. We found this program to be very successful at disseminating basic health principles and practices in very rural areas of Africa and are thankful to Africa Ahead for their excellent work! RESPONSE FROM AFRICA AHEAD Thank you to the Village Africa Network Team for this feedback: it is exactly what we were hoping to receive and pass on to others via our website, which should reflect the achievments of other organisations, and not just Africa AHEAD. Here is an enterprising organisation that can appreciate a good thng when they see it , and is able to take theory and translate it into a practical programme without any help from Africa AHEAD staff. It is truly encouraging that Village Africa Network that has successfully used the CHC Methodology as it was designed, including the training materials and membership card and they can already report such a massive drop in diarrhoea: 98% is a huge claim and we would love you to fill in more detail of this.