However, the volunteers have suspended their activities citing the breakdown of the bicycles they were given by government to facilitate their movement.
Members of Village Health Teams –VHT in Kyanamukaka Sub County in Masaka district have suspended their work citing unfavorable transport. VHTs are comprised of volunteers who are trained to offer basic treatment and compliment delivery of health services for major killer diseases such as Malaria, Diarrhea and pneumonia. More than 110 VHT members have been operating in 59 villages in Kyanamukaaka Sub County. However, the volunteers have suspended their activities citing the breakdown of the bicycles they were given by government to facilitate their movement.
Simon Peter Rubandi, a village health coordinator for Kyentale Parish in Kyanamukaaka Sub County says that they have been burdened with the work due to lack of transport. He says that the bicycles they received to facilitate their transport broke down in January this year but they have not been repaired despite the fact that they notified the authorities. Rubandi says that they have for a long time been requesting the authorities to repair the bicycles in vain.
He says that 56 out the 75 bicycles they received have broken down. Josephat Ssewanyana, a VHT member attached to Lusakalwammese parish says that they have been walking long distances to deliver drugs to patients due to lack of reliable means of transport. He says that after the authority’s failure to service the bicycles, they resolved in their quarterly meetings to repair them and claim for the money from government, but surprisingly they failed to get spare parts around the region.
Ssewanyana says that they have considered suspending these activities until government repairs the bicycles or buys them new ones. Jane Nakalema, a Village health worker in Kyakajwiga blames government for failing to facilitate them yet they are offering a voluntary service to the community. She says that the little and impromptu allowances given to them is not enough to sustain them. Anthony Kaweesi, a bicycle mechanic in Kyanamukaaka trading center says spare parts for the bicycles distributed to VHT members are so unique.
He says that it may not be easy to repair the bicycles locally unless government orders for the spare parts from India, where the bicycles were manufactured. Theresa Najuma, the health educator Kyanamukaaka Sub-county says that she petitioned the health department several times but she has been asked to wait. Paul Migadde, the LC 3 chairperson Kyanamukaaka Sub-county says that he is left with no option to but to petition the health ministry to come to the rescue of his area.
VHT members have started dumping the faulty bicycles at the sub county headquarters. He argues that the VHT members have been offering a commendable job in the sub county, adding that withdrawing their services would affect the area. Last year, government through Ministry of Health distributed 110,000 bicycles to VHT members countrywide to help them offer treatment to members of the community.