Under community empowerment strategic focus, HEPS empowers health care consumers with knowledge about their health rights and responsibilities, and also imparts skills to claim their health rights and exercise their health responsibilities as well as facilitate a health consumer –health provider feedback mechanism.
HEPS-Uganda works with grass root community leaders to increase their capacity and knowledge and be able to impart this knowledge about health rights and health responsibilities to their local community members using the ToTs (Trainer of Trainers). These leaders commonly known as community trainers are key change agents in the local communities.
Community Empowerment Objective
To educate and empower health consumers, especially the poor and vulnerable, by dissemination of information on health rights and responsibilities, including rational use of medicines (RUM).
The geographical coverage of the community empowerment programme:
- Central Uganda - Kiboga district and Kampala district
- Eastern region - Pallisa and Budaka districts
- Western region - Mbarara and Kamwenge districts
- Northern region - Lira district
HEPS uses two methodologies for community outreach and these include:
1. Community empowerment methodology
To increase health awareness and community participation, HEPS-Uganda uses trained community trainers to be agents of change. A series of carefully planned training activities that reinforce each other in dissemination of health messages and training of the target group in the community are used.
HEPS-Uganda has developed and tested community empowerment training materials with easy to read and understand messages. These materials include a facilitator’s guide (for HEPS facilitator), a trainer’s guide (for Community Leaders) and Education Materials. The Trainer’s Guide and Education Materials have been translated into three local languages namely Lugwere, Runyankore and Luo.
2. Community participatory methodology
The Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) approach is also used to increase health awareness and community participation in identifying and addressing barriers to access. Several techniques of the PRA are employed, such as case studies, brainstorming and group discussions, ranking and scoring, spider ranking, role play, stepping stones/ wheel chart among others.
This methodology has proved to be effective in working with the community and encouraging participation in identifying problems within the community and suggesting solutions and interventions to address the problems.
This methodology has been implemented in:
- Kamwenge district under the project, “Community Empowerment and Participation on Maternal Health”
- Kamwenge and Kiboga Districts under the project, “Consolidating participatory approach to increase community participation in prevention of parent to child HIV/AIDS transmission”.