Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Nicola Hawley

Second Advisor

Mayur Desai

Abstract

Background: Community health workers (CHW) have successfully contributed to prevention, management and care for NCD interventions in several low and middle income countries (LMIC). In Uganda, the CHW, known as Village Health Teams (VHT) are the initial point of care in their communities. Though their present roles only attend to infectious diseases, maternal and child health issues, their skills could potentially be utilized in national efforts to promote NCD prevention in communities.

Aim: To assess baseline knowledge of and attitudes toward NCD and NCD care among VHT in Uganda as a step towards identifying a potential role for VHT in community NCD prevention and management.

Design: A knowledge, attitudes and practices questionnaire was distributed to 68 active VHT workers from Iganga and Mayuge districts, Uganda. In addition, four focus group discussions were conducted with these VHT workers (n=33). Discussions focused on NCD knowledge, current experience with NCD, and barriers and facilitators to incorporating NCD care into their role as community VHT. A thematic qualitative analysis was conducted to identify salient themes in the data.

Results: VHT possessed some knowledge and awareness of NCD but identified a lack of knowledge about NCDs in their communities. VHT were enthusiastic about incorporating NCD care into their role and thought that they could serve as effective conduits of knowledge about NCD to their communities, if empowered through NCD education, the availability of proper reporting and referral tools, and visible collaborations with medical personnel. Current barriers to their participation in NCD care included lack of VHT education on NCD, lack of assistance/supervision from medical personnel, lack of medical services, medication, equipment and personnel and lack of VHT regard from community.

Conclusion: Ugandan VHT already possess some nuanced knowledge about NCD and their risk behaviors. With context-specific and culturally adapted training, VHT want to and could play a role in spreading community awareness of NCD and reporting and referral of community members for NCD screening.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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