Edward Basalirwa is a 40-year-old Village Health Team (VHT) member and farmer from the Iganga District of Uganda. Edward was prompted to form a VHT Association in the Nsale Parish to improve the community’s well-being, and the VHT was elected in the community by the LC1 chairman, or village leader. In the village, the VHT performs various tasks, including efforts related to immunization, family planning, blood testing for HIV, and communal work. The team takes pride in the community’s willingness to accept the information provided by the VHT and to go to the health center to receive services.
Basalirwa starts his day by walking around the community and telling his people about hygiene and sanitation. He firsts asks the husbands names and number of wives in the home plus children above 5 and under 5. Then he provides advice and raises awareness of the health services available in the community. One of the main health issues in Nsale Parish is related to parasites and a lack of insecticide spray. During their rounds, the VHT advises community members to clean their homes, clothes, and to bathe 3-4 times per week.
In addition to his work with the VHT, Basalirwa looks after his family, makes sure that his four children go to school, maintains his garden, and then if he has any additional income, he puts a small shop at his home.
Due to a large catchment area and a lack of transportation, a VHT’s work day is often long and requires walking from home to home to meet and treat clients. However, these journeys are often rewarded with successes, such as one example given by Basalirwa. He remembers a client who came in with a need to increase her birth spacing. Basalirwa suggested she begin using family planning, specifically Depo-Provera. After she began using her contraceptive method, the women was able to plan her births. Through his health worker training, Basalirwa has gained the skills and confidence to provide injections like these to his clients. When he was younger, Basalirwa thought he would be a doctor. While he enjoys his work in the community with the VHT, he would still like to become a doctor someday.