Assessing the role of village health teams (VHT’s) in public health in Uganda: a case study of Ruharo parish (in central division, Bushenyi Ishaka municipality, Bushenyi district)
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The main objective of the study is to assess the role of Village Health Teams in the public health sector in Uganda.This study used a cross-sectional research design since data was collected from each respondent at a given period of time. Cochran (1963) equation was used to yield a representative sample for proportions thus obtaining a sample of 100 respondents. This study used a probability sampling method called simple random sampling. This method was used because it gives all respondents an equal chance of being selected and it also avoids bias. Basing on the study population, out of the ten villages from Ruharo parish, five (5) villages were selected from which the eligible respondents were also selected, the target respondents were the Village Health Team (VHT) members per village, health workers at Ruharo health centre II, households and village chairpersons from the five (5) selected villages.The study used SPSS software and the analysis was carried out at two levels. The study found out that the VHT’s play a significant role in health promotion and their performance is dependent on the adopted incentives both monetary and non-monetary, recognition, availability of supplies and support supervision, training and facilitation whereby their level of provision and availability determines the level of performance results. In connection to the above, the study suggested that there should be comprehensive management in terms of incentives, recognition and social acceptance so as to increase job satisfaction and motivation. To sum up, an effective management system should therefore have the capacity to regularly assess the performance of VHT’s so as to have better results in the health system. Governments and development partners should also ensure effective facilitation and creating awareness about the role played by the VHT’s in the respective areas. Chi-Square results revealed that there was a significant relationship between sex (p-value= 0.03), education level (p-value=0.04) and the performance of village health teams in public health since the p-value is less than 0.05. The study recommends that in countries like Uganda where Village Health Teams (VHTs) constitute an integral part of the health system efforts should be made to ensure institutionalization of assessment tools that support tracking of village health team’s performance to inform program priorities and resource allocation.