On Thursday, Amrita and I were going to sit in on the first day out of a three day long training for CLIF: community linkage facilitators, a project aiming at creating a link between the villages and the health system. The training was organized by Uganda Development and Health Associates (UDHA), our partner NGO.
We met at 07.45am at UDHA. I thought that on this day, 07.45am would actually mean 07.45am, even in Iganga. I was wrong: we left sometime after 09.00am and the training started round 9.30am.
The training was held in a guest house in Iganga and there was around 40 people participating. The day started with an introduction round consisting of name, occupation, origin village and marital status. The latter seemed to be very important and was not to be left out, not even by us.
After that followed an introduction to UDHA held by Mukasa, a project officer with UDHA, and then a generous breakfast consisting of chapatti, eggs and bananas, and African tea. Everyone was very nice and welcoming to us. The day continued with a discussion around village health teams (VHTs), which turned out to be more like a workshop. People were very involved and engaged and everyone took part in the lively discussion, that to our frustration soon shifted from English to Lusoga. A nice man next to me explained that the focus was the difficulties and problems with the system of VHTs.
Both Amrita and I were fascinated by the participants ability to shift from loud, almost aggressive discussion, to cheerful laughter and small talk.
After lunch, which turned out to be one of the best meals we had here so far- matooke, posho, fried rice, beans and groundnut sauce!- there were lectures on social mobilization of the community, followed by health information on tuberculosis, both very informative and impressing. The participants seem to take notes on almost every word that was being said. The next two days we were told would focus on malaria and HIV/AIDs as these three disease areas were the main focus of the Global Fund project, which was funding these initiatives by the community groups and VHTs.
At around 16.00, it was time for the participants to fill in their evaluations, and for us to leave. When we left the building, the man in charge of the training ran after us, asking for our opinion on improvements, but neither one of us could think of anything to improve- they had done such a good job