Online Program

Mother knows best: Community perception of Ugandan village health workers in reducing infant mortality rates

Monday, November 4, 2013

Abigail Richardson, School of Nursing, Anderson University, Anderson, IN
BACKGROUND: The critical shortage of trained health professionals is a global crisis. Uganda's child mortality rates remains one of the highest in the world: 65 per 1000 children. Many researchers have demonstrated that village health workers (VHW) have the potential to significantly expand the reach of a developing country's preexisting healthcare system. In 2010, VHWs were officially included in Uganda's healthcare system. Community support is key for the continued efficacy and sustainability of this health education program. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this descriptive non-experimental quantitative pilot study is to assess the perception of Ugandan women towards the effectiveness of village health workers in reducing infant mortality rate. Additionally, this study will identify local support for continued use of VHWs in prenatal and postnatal education and early identification of illness. METHODS: In April 2013, a descriptive written survey will be given to approximately 50 women in the community surrounding Kampala, Uganda, selected by convenience. Women who have had personal contact with VHWs will be asked to rate their perceptions using a Likert Scale. The survey includes eleven questions plus one free-response question. RESULTS: Anticipated results include the women having an overall positive attitude towards increased access to prenatal/postnatal education in their own community and a perceived improvement in infant outcomes. CONCLUSION: Assessing community support is a vital step in evaluating the success of any VHW program that strives to enhance maternal child health. This study can be used to strengthen future partnerships between lay health workers and mothers, locally and globally.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify the role of the nationally instituted Ugandan Village Health Worker in reducing infant mortality rates in both rural and urban settings. Evaluate the effectiveness of the Ugandan VHW program in reducing infant mortality rates from the perspective of the local women.

Keyword(s): Infant Mortality, Lay Health Workers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed the study for my nursing research class, and will conduct the survey in April 2013 during the two-week Anderson University School of Nursing Intercultural Clinical Experience to Uganda. My first encounter with village health workers was in May 2012 when I interacted with and interviewed VHWs trained by the Comprehensive Rural Health Project in Jamkhed, India. My future career goals include becoming a family nurse practitioner midwife who trains community health workers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.