A group of Ugandan entrepreneurs who collectively work under the auspices of an organization known as Community Health Movement Uganda has secured USD 20 K in funding after emerging winners in the Global Health Challenge. The financial incentive is expected to go some way towards helping the organization pilot and scale some of its planned projects.
The D-Prize Global Health Challenge is an initiative that has set out to discover innovations which have the potential to alleviate poverty and bring about community development by sparking improvements in global health, as well as other areas like girl child education, energy, education, governance, and infrastructure, with special attention to scaling and expansion of the best solutions and interventions.
As indicated by the organizers of the D-Prize Global Challenge, the motivation behind the initiative in Africa is largely the need to liberate various regions of sub-Saharan Africa from the menace of killer diseases like HIV, as a UNAIDS report estimates that 1.4 million new HIV infections were recorded in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, out of the 2.1 million new cases that were reported globally.
The UNAIDS report also indicates something of a disturbing surge in the number of HIV cases recorded for individuals aged 15 or over in Eastern and Southern Africa. This informed its search for organizations whose efforts are geared towards curbing the scourge. And it appears that the vision of the Community Health Movement Uganda aligns with the focus of the D-Prize Global Competition; a feature that can be considered as having played a big part in the emergence of the Ugandan organization as winners of the challenge,
Community Health Movement Uganda looks set to benefit from the perks that come with winning the competition on account of their project which is aimed at meeting the demand for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services in target communities. The team has adopted this mission on the backs of the recognition that Uganda is still somewhat regarded as a priority country when it comes to VMMC.
As the Ugandan team pointed out during their presentation, statistics indicate that the percentage of circumcised men aged between 15 to 49 grew to 43% from 26% between 2011 and 2015. The figures from Northern districts of Uganda, however, remained the same at 14% during the period under review, with an HIV rate of 7.2%. The team also attributed the lower numbers of men accessing VMMC in this region to an apparent service chasm that exists between the newly-identified clients and the resources available, while citing that many of these individuals are oblivious of the need for the procedure.
With this in mind, Community Health Movement Uganda is looking to adopt a two-pronged approach that will involve creating awareness about VMMC in rural communities, with some of the locals at the forefront of the drive that would entail referring patients to health facilities, as well as furnishing both frontline health workers and health workers in health facilities with the requisite training to facilitate the traction and acceptance of the VMMC procedure in target communities.
The new injection of capital into the Ugandan enterprise is expected to do a solid to its plans of employing a new approach which would involve enlisting the services of female health promoters who are well-respected in their local communities to create awareness about VMMC services by means of tailored messaging.
Ronald Tibiita holds the reins at Community Health Movement Uganda as its CEO, and he is ably supported by a team which includes Richard Kagimu (Project Manager), James Kaggwa (Monitoring and Evaluation Officer), as well as Tracy Kobukindo (Finance Officer).
D-Prize is focused on supporting entrepreneurs who are making significant headway in bringing about community development through poverty interventions. Its next global competition is expected to hit the ground running sometime in September this year.