Amref donates 100 bicycles to boost mobility of Iganga community healthcare workers

Some of the The bicycles which were distributed by AMREF Health Africa to community health workers in Iganga on Thursday, February 29, 2024

Iganga, (UG):- In the bid to improve the mobility of community health volunteers in Busoga region’s Iganga District, Amref Health Africa through their program of Heroes for Gender Transformative Action in partnership with World Bicycle Relief on Thursday donated 100 bicycles to ease the work of Village Health Teams (VHTs), Peer educators and community champions in addressing issues of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) among others.

The development comes after a recent report indicated that almost 98 per cent of the volunteers move on foot to spread the message and this prompted them to consider community health care workers from six sub-counties in Iganga district i.e. Nawaningi, Nambale, Nabitende, Nawandala, Bulamagi and Nakigo sub-county.

Upon realizing the significance of the program which has since covered Namayingo and Bugiri districts with 100 bicycles in each district, the government has pledged to continuously work with partners in addressing key health issues like low immunization coverage, SGBV cases and encouraging women to seek health care and also deliver in health centres. 

The assistant commissioner of health services, promotion and strategic health communication Dr. Ronald Miria Acaatre who was the chief guest at the function of distributing the bicycles on Thursday at the Iganga district council hall, said the government lack enough resources to recruit all health workers they would wish to have in every village and he treated this as an opportunity to deliver all health information to all households at minimum cost by working together with partners.

“We give them information on key health issues that we want to be addressed since there are a number of challenges that we would need to be addressed, health and non-health for example low immunization coverage and encouraging our women in reproductive age to seek medical care once they are pregnant. There are issues of nutrition and family planning where we want them to encourage parents to have only the number of children they are capable of looking after,” Dr Acaatre said.

The assistant commissioner health services Dr Acaatre (with mic) and RDC Wandera Sadala (next to him on the left) launching the bicycles distribution

Iganga RDC, Mr Wandera Sadala said they expect improvement in responses whenever the challenges of SGBV, nutrition and maternal health arise, attributing it to the number of victims who will be reached by the team which has been supported with transport. 

The assistant DHO in charge of maternal and child health care services in Iganga Ms Rose Baluka appreciated the organisation for giving out bicycles to the foot soldiers saying the need was there given the huge work in their range and that they have been complaining about the long distances to offer services.

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“..they do a lot of work but they have been complaining and the need was there. We appreciate the work by the community health team because they rally mothers to take children for immunization and also adolescents to visit youth corners because they have a number of issues,” Ms Baluka said before commending the Heroes program. 

A section of bicycles beneficiaries in a group photo with some dignitaries

The program manager for Heroes for Gender Transformative Action Mr Micheal Muyonga says their four years of health system strengthening and community work in the area made them discover a gap in the community resource person mobility and they had to partner with some people to facilitate the community health workers with bicycles to improve the health indicators.

“What we observed in communities is the gap in the community resource person mobility and that’s why we have come up with this partnership with World Bicycle Relief to ensure that 100 community health workers and resource persons in Iganga get bicycles. These bicycles should be kept well and put into proper use to ensure that health indicators improve as they make appropriate referrals.”

The program manager Mr. Micheal Muyonga engages with the beneficiaries of bicycle distribution exercise

Speaking to a number of beneficiaries in the capacity of advice centre champions and volunteers led by Ms Nakisendo Asha, they commended the Amref for the Heroes program which donated bicycles to them saying transport was a bigger challenge and they pledged to work tirelessly. They have reportedly been facing hardships to visit far places from the offices to the survivors.

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“I thank the Heroes for this means of transport because I have been facing hardships in handling and mediating people in villages but as we have received these bicycles, we shall work well and I’m so appreciative,” Ms Kisaame Shifah, the advise centre champion in charge SGBV in six villages in Bulamagi Sub-county said. 

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