Mary Naluwu is a BRAC Community Health Volunteer (CHV) in Kihombooza village, near Hoima town in western Uganda. As she walked with, Hellen Birungi, a BRAC Health Project Assistant (PA), carrying out their duty in the village, they found a pregnant woman at her home with high blood pressure and referred her for medical treatment. That day Naluwu and Hellen were providing ante-natal care to pregnant women in their homes.
As part of the ante-natal care package, PAs check the blood pressure of pregnant women do determine if they are likely to have a high risk pregnancy so they can be referred to a doctor for proper medical treatment.
The other roles of BRAC PAs include calculating the expected date of delivery for the pregnant mothers and educating them about nutrition, personal hygiene during pregnancy, safe delivery, baby care and immunization.
Naluwu, is one of the 1,880 BRAC CHVs in Uganda. As a CHV, Naluwu makes 200 home visits a month to educate the community about common diseases like malaria and diarrhea as well as providing remedies for symptoms like fevers and headaches. She mobilizes pregnant women for tetanus toxoid vaccination and immunization for their children. She refers seriously sick patients to health centres. She also sells some health products like sanitary pads, pampers, fortified foods for children, soap, toothpaste, iodized salt, etc.
"The people in this village are now happy because they get affordable and acceptable primary health care services at their doorsteps. I am inspired to work because people like my services very much. I am very popular in the village. They take whatever I tell them very seriously, saying 'daktari agambye...' (the doctor has said...)," Naluwu says.
Story from BRAC.