WINSENGA UPDATE/BULLETIN 29.0 – Govt plans to pay village health teams

Excerpts from The Observer website.

The ministry of Health plans to turn the country’s Village Health Teams (VHTs) into salary earners.

According to the minister of state for Primary Health Care, Sarah Achieng Opendi, the teams currently working as volunteers are critical in health service delivery.

Opendi made the revelation during the third International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), which ended in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, last week.

Opendi said the Ugandan delegation had learnt a lot about how Ethiopia managed to use their Health Extension Workers (HEWs) – the equivalent of VHTs in Uganda – to increase use of contraceptives and improve health indicators in the countryside.

Ethiopia’s ministry of Health selects two members of a village, who are trained for a year before they are sent back into the community. The skills obtained from the training are used to treat small ailments as well as distribute contraceptives to women. They are also trained to administer injectable contraceptives such as Depo Provera – the most sought-after contraceptive.

The Ethiopian health extension workers are trained to identify complicated health issues and refer them to health centres. They also help identify expectant mothers in the village, who they visit at home and talk about the importance of antenatal care and giving birth with skilled attendance.

Because they are paid, the HEWs are motivated in their job. Being community members makes it easier for them to win the trust of the targeted women.

“We are implementing movements of communities through participatory action meetings. We are trying to mobilise three million women voluntary leaders to bring social transformation in Ethiopia. We want to reduce unmet need and reach an additional 6.7 million women who want to avoid unintended pregnancies,” said Dr Ketesebirhan Admasu, Ethiopia’s Health minister.

There has been an annual two per cent increment in contraceptive outreach and Dr Admasu says this is the highest in any country in the world. Ethiopia’s HEWs have helped reduce under-five mortality rate, improved maternal health and helped double the prevalence of contraceptives.

Opendi hopes that given the lessons from Ethiopia, Uganda’s own VHTs will help increase contraceptive prevalence which stands at 31 per cent and help reduce the country’s unmet need for family planning.



WinSenga Update/Bulletin 11.0 – WinSenga at ITU Telecom World and Maker Faire invitation

From the 14th to the 18th of this month, who is who in the telecom and ICT world will meet for the ITU Telecom World event in Dubai to “explore the radical transformation of the ICT industry and the implications for policy, regulation and competitive strategy. This transformation is driven by game changers, the trends and technologies revolutionizing the industry and the world we live in” – (ITU Telecom World 2012 website). For more information about the event, click here.

It is an opportunity for these game changers from all corners of the globe (from CEOs to Ministers to excelling students and innovators) to deliberate, share ideas and experiences, and network. As a team that has the potential to change the game in mHealth, we shall be there.

Aaron Tushabe, team leader and lead developer on team cipher256 and the winsenga team, will be representing us and Uganda at the event courtesy of Uganda Communications Commission- UCC. Special thanks are in order therefore to the UCC for their continued support of local talent and solutions.

In other news, the team got an invitation to be part of this year’s Maker Faire Africa event in Lagos, Nigeria on the 5th and 6th of November. Details to come soon.

Team Cipher256 Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals – Round 2 (top 20) presentation

For those who may have missed the news. We failed to travel to Sydney, Australia to represent East and Southern Africa. However, that did not deter us. We beat the odds to qualify for round two (top 20 out of 72 teams). This is what our presentation was like (note: the difficulty in convincing all the judges of the authenticity and working state of our solution) – video courtesy of itwebafrica: