Eliminating preventable diseases through immunisation can be a tough struggle. Even when mothers know immunisation is available, they don't always understand the importance of regular booster shots. In Uganda, World Vision is empowering people to take charge of their own health.
Before World Vision began its Gulu Integrated Community Health Project (GICHP) in Uganda in 2001, immunisation wasn't a priority. With more than 43,000 people living in the area, there was already significant pressure on government health resources and sanitation.
In 2001, immunisation against measles, polio, diphtheria and tuberculosis among children under 5 was as low as 29%.
Tackling this problem within a large population was the impetus for setting up the GICHP. The project established a large pool of skilled volunteers to support the work of government healthcare workers. World Vision sourced volunteers who lived within the community to build understanding and trust for health and immunisation.
Volunteers were trained in basic healthcare including vaccination and keeping immunisation records so they could share knowledge in their own communities and build up the community's medical information. Just over 14,000 people - mostly mothers - learnt more about health through health education meetings.
They left the meetings knowing how to correctly spot malaria and measles in their early stages, which greatly increases survival rates for children under 5. They were also able to present other mothers with information about breastfeeding and hygeine.
From these volunteers a select group of 40 Community Immunisors took medicine to their people. As well as training in administering immunisations, Community Immunisors also learnt how to keep records so mothers knew when their next booster shots were due.
Thanks to their efforts, immunisation of children under 5 almost doubled. By 2004 more than 52% had been immunised.
Working closely with the community brought results for World Vision. Collaborating with communities around the world, we want to increase immunisation rates and access to healthcare. To help us, join our Child Health Now campaign.