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Its Thursday 13/09/2018 and Eric Omondi, the founder of Alliance for Sustainable Health and Wealth in Africa (ASHWA Uganda)  has from the evening before given me a copy of the ‘invitation for a community gathering on Health Related Issues at Busia Health Centre IV’ due on the same date. Omondi is also laying in the hospital bed sick and at noon, I and another Eric a volunteer at ASHWA Uganda, set off as representatives of the foundation to attend this community gathering at Busia Health Centre IV.

What you should know.

  1. i) Citizen Voice and Action (CVA) is a local level advocacy methodology/ approach that provides for a dialogue between communities (service users) and the government (duty bearers/service providers) in order to improve services like health and education that impact the lives of children and their families in Busia Uganda.
  2. ii) World Vision International (WVI) is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities by addressing the causes of poverty and injustice hence improving the well-being of a child and their household. WVI also supports various programs through Citizen Voice and Action (CVA).

Community members attending CVA gathering

On arrival, we are handed a bottle of water each as we join a group of other invitees contributing to the session. We learn that the purpose of this gathering is to discuss various issues affecting the health facility BHC IV and how best they can be handled by both the community and as well, WVI. In this, topics like Identifying staff gaps in the facility, the nature of the Institution structure, drugs, transportation, among others are covered.

Characteristics of an Ideal Facility are also brainstormed by the attendees themselves and they came up with characteristics such as;

  • Should have: Ultra Sound/scanning facilities and once factors like attaining an x-ray were mentioned, one of the attending doctors taught that if the institution has no radiographer, then there is no reason it should have X-Ray services as each of these tools it would need its respective operator.
  • Ideal Transport Services
  • Availability of free effective and prompt transport services
  • Presence of enough, committed and caring staff, not to forget the issue on how the attitudes of the medical personnel should be highly in check, as having enough is not similar to the staff having a positive attitude towards the patients and their demands.
  • Availability of enough drugs and other assorted services.
  • Mortuary and mortuary attendants, among other characteristics. Other issues were also addressed and debated upon.

Near closure, assessment questions were looked at where the chairman asked the community attendees and representatives to rate what they thought about the ongoing facilities from very good, good, just okay, bad and very bad; and I have to admit that the responses were as bold as they were impressive. I shall however only list five assessment questions. See below.

  • Rate the timely attendance to patients in the facility.
  • Rate the facility working hours
  • Time of Arrival and departure by Health Workers
  • Treatment of patients by health workers
  • What comments and proposals do you have for (The Busia Municipal Council Area Development Program)

A CVA attendee contributing to the discussions

The Chairperson

On attending this, I learned that:

  • Local community gatherings are very important to have no matter the type or location of community and that they should rather be emphasized and well implemented.
  • The community residents should be directly involved in on-going activities and propositions in-order to ensure viable feedback which is better than having outsiders make research and submit reports.
  • Every municipality should have a local level advocacy named CVA/ Citizen Voice and Action, and as well, performing its roles. Check the definition in the first paragraph.
  • Every facility or establishment should practice service assessment directly from the recipients.

I am sure you’ve learned something too.

See Some Images Below from Session

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