They diagnose, prescribe and issue drugs to patients.
Patients in Gulu have resorted to members of the Village Health Teams- VHT for treatment. The VHT are performing tasks that are ordinarily meant to be performed by qualified medical personnel like doctors and physicians. They diagnose, prescribe and issue drugs to patients.
In normal circumstances the Village Health Teams-VHTs are supposed to perform Primary Health Care-roles like sensitizing and offering first aid. So revered are the Village Health Teams-VHTs in Gulu that locals turn to them whenever they are sick. Tonny Ongia the LC2 Chairperson of Vanguard Parish explains that residents in his ward usually approach the Village Health Teams-VHTs whenever they are sick.
He says the VHTs assess the patient and administer treatment.
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Ongia says the residents prefer the VHT’s to health health centers which experience persistent drug stock out. Members of the VHTs that URN contacted declined to comment on grounds that they are not authorized to speak to the press.
Dr. Paul Onek, the Gulu District Health Officer-DHO says that Village Health Teams are filling the gap that has been caused by shortage of medical personnel. He explains that the district has so far trained 1000 voluntary Village Health Teams-VHTs and plans to recruit more 800 in the coming months.
He defends the role of VHTs saying that it’s a government policy for districts to recruit VHTs from among members of the community to perform primary health care roles. He says the VHTs are performing a great role since there is a shortage of trained medical workers in the district.
Dr. Onek also says the village health teams have been trained on how to prescribe drugs such as coartem for the patients. Gulu district is facing acute shortage of medical personnel. Gulu Regional Referral Hospital currently has only five doctors and no medical officers to attend to patients.
village health teams
ministry of health