Lancet Examines Uganda’s Child-Health Volunteers

A Lancet World Report examines how a small group of village volunteers trained in basic health care are helping to improve the health of Ugandan children. “In a country where government spending on health is US$39 per person and 13% of children younger than 5 years die, trained volunteer health workers can make a substantial difference in remote rural areas,” said Jerome Kabakyenga, dean of Medicine at the Mbara University of Science and Technology (MUST).

The article examines a program offered by a local university in Western Uganda where “a pair of volunteers in each of 175 villages in the region” receive training “in a set of basic child health concepts known as Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI),” a child health approach designed by WHO and UNICEF.

The article also looks at the debate over the role volunteers can play in improving health conditions (Webster, 11/21).