Meet James and Joseph – The Lutheran malaria program in Uganda

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‚ÄčOpus James for web.jpg

Photo: Opus James

My name is Opus James. I serve as a VHT (a member of a Village Health Team) in Kamenu Parish in Katakwi, Uganda. I serve three villages: Aputon, Apeleu and Atapar.

As part of my work, I screen people for malaria. If someone is sick, they must get treatment within twenty-four hours, in order for the treatment to be most effective.  So when I visit with a sick child or adult [and they test positive for malaria], I treat them immediately using Coartem [first-line medication for treating malaria]. If the person has a severely high fever, I refer them to a government health clinic.

I enjoy my job as a VHT because it attracts people to my home. I enjoy having visitors, being with them and helping them to be healthy.

Okwanyang Joseph for web.jpg

Photo: Okwanyang Joseph

I am called Okwanyang Joseph.  I am a VHT (member of a Village Health Team) in Omasia Parish in Katakwi, Uganda. I serve Kipiyang village.  I was chosen to become a VHT because people trusted me.

When people in this village suffer from malaria, they spend a lot of money for treatment. Also, sick people are not productive, so as a VHT I have to educate them and teach them how to prevent malaria in their homes.

My work in the village has enabled people to access health services.  When they are sick, I am the first person they come to. I screen them for malaria and if it’s not there I refer them to the health center for additional tests.

Those with malaria I treat on the spot, to make them healthy again.  Then they will be able to cultivate their land and be productive. I also do follow-up visits after treatment of malaria to make sure they are using the mosquito net properly.

I also teach people to slash bushes in their compounds [which attract mosquitoes], and this has reduced cases of malaria here. I enjoy promoting hygiene and put latrines.  I enjoy testing and giving treatment, sensitizing people on the proper use of nets, and encouraging people to get treatment within 24 hours.