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MANIFEST Issue Brief 9: What a highly effective VHT for maternal and newborn health looks like

Future Health Systems

Makerere University School of Public health in collaboration with Ministry of Health and the three districts of Kamuli, Pallisa and Kibuku designed and implemented a four year (2012-2015) maternal and newborn study (MANIFEST) that aimed at improving access to institutionalized deliveries. One of the study components was community mobilization through use of Village Health Teams (VHTs), essentially community health workers. The VHTs were trained for five days and supervised by district level health workers and district health team (DHT) members with support from external trainers following a training of trainers (TOT). The VHTs effectively sensitized communities and improved awareness on birth preparedness, knowledge of danger signs and health facility service utilization. This brief therefore highlights the key characteristics of a good performing VHT based on observations of VHT performances over three years of implementation.