Potential role of village health teams in improving anti-retroviral therapy service delivery in Gulu District
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Village Health Teams (VHTs) are community health workers trained to carry out health activities at the community level with close supervision by health professionals at a health centre level II. However, the provision of continuum of care which include follow-up of patients on ARVs, monitoring for drug side effects and patients referral at the community level are being performed by community volunteers supported by the respective CBOs and CSOs. The level of involvement of VHT members in ART services is not known. Objective The purpose of the study was to assess the role of VHTs in improving ART uptake among the communities in Gulu district and factors influencing their contribution towards achieving increased uptake of ART. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study applying both quantitative and qualitative research methods. 400 VHT members were drawn from 44 randomly selected villages, 1village from each of the 44 parishes of the two counties and the municipality of Gulu district. Surveys using structured questionnaires were administered by research assistants to all the 400 respondents. A total of 12 Key Informants (nurse/midwives, clinicians and HCMC members) were interviewed from their work place using KI guide. From the coded qualitative data connections were drawn between the different pieces of data. Cross tabulation were employed to provide for descriptive statistics. Data was analyzed using EPI INFO and SPSS software.