Door-to-door healthcare for expecting mothers and their families

October 21, 2010
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Mary Naluwu is a BRAC Community Health Volunteer (CHV) in Kihombooza village, near Hoima town in western Uganda. As she walked with, Hellen Birungi, a BRAC Health Project Assistant (PA), carrying out their duty in the village, they found a pregnant woman at her home with high blood pressure and referred her for medical treatment. That day Naluwu and Hellen were providing ante-natal care to pregnant women in their homes.


Mary Naluwu is a BRAC Community Health Volunteer (CHV) in Kihombooza village, near Hoima town in western Uganda. As she walked with, Hellen Birungi, a BRAC Health Project Assistant (PA), carrying out their duty in the village, they found a pregnant woman at her home with high blood pressure and referred her for medical treatment. That day Naluwu and Hellen were providing ante-natal care to pregnant women in their homes.

As part of the ante-natal care package, PAs check the blood pressure of pregnant women do determine if they are likely to have a high risk pregnancy so they can be referred to a doctor for proper medical treatment.

The other roles of BRAC PAs include calculating the expected date of delivery for the pregnant mothers and educating them about nutrition, personal hygiene during pregnancy, safe delivery, baby care and immunization.

Naluwu, is one of the 1,880 BRAC CHVs in Uganda. As a CHV, Naluwu makes 200 home visits a month to educate the community about common diseases like malaria and diarrhea as well as providing remedies for symptoms like fevers and headaches. She mobilizes pregnant women for tetanus toxoid vaccination and immunization for their children. She refers seriously sick patients to health centres. She also sells some health products like sanitary pads, pampers, fortified foods for children, soap, toothpaste, iodized salt, etc.

“The people in this village are now happy because they get affordable and acceptable primary health care services at their doorsteps. I am inspired to work because people like my services very much. I am very popular in the village. They take whatever I tell them very seriously, saying ‘daktari agambye …’ (the doctor has said …),” Naluwu says.

As of August, the BRAC health programme in Uganda, working through 97 Project Assistants covering 94 branches in 42 districts in the country, had a total of 231 TB suspected cases referred, 16,906 treated for malaria and 11,732 for diarrhea.

A cumulative total of 13,589 and 1,052 mothers received ante-natal care and pre-natal care respectively. Again, a total of 14,144 pregnant mothers were referred for tetanus toxoid vaccines, 46,114 children were mobilzed for immunization and 5,023 condoms were distributed. In general, in August 2010 a total of 97,059 patients were referred by BRAC CHVs to health centres and 41,851 community health meetings were conducted.

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