In order to effectively create demand and promote uptake of health services, CHC has designed an innovative community mobilization approach called the OBULAMU Community Show. This community intervention involves coordination with health partners, district officials, and Obulamu champions to optimally mobilize communities and provide health services. CHC uses district health services data and partner activity reports to determine the location of the shows and the services to be provided. This ensures that health discussions and conversations happen where the problem is: the right place.
To mobilize communities, CHC works with an experiential agency that conducts edutainment activities in localities where target audiences are found such as bars, markets, water collection points, and transport hubs. At these locations, small group discussions and one on one dialogues about health issues are interspersed with edutainment. In the community itself, Village Organizing Committees (VOCs) and OBULAMU Champions go from door-to-door and hold discussions to encourage household members to go for services such as HIV testing and counselling (HTC) provided at the show. Additionally, radio announcements are placed on community radio to engage and remind listeners about the show location and services.
In July-September 2015, CHC partnered with the USAID/The Strengthening TB and HIV & AIDS Responses in East-Central Uganda (STAR-EC) to mobilize communities for HIV testing and enrolled into care. Seven HIV Prevention/HCT focused community shows were held in Mayuge and Namayingo districts, and reached 2,894 people with HCT services. The shows targeted priority and key populations including; fisher folk at landing sites, adolescents in gold mine camps, female sex workers, sugar cane plantation workers and bar patrons/maids.
The STAR-EC’s Program Progress Review Report for this period indicates a reduction in the HIV tests taken to identify one new infection, from 47 at general community outreaches to 25 during integrated OBULAMU Community Shows. The targeted shows increased efficiencies in identifying HIV positive persons.
~written by Paul Odeke, Regional Technical Officer, East Central Region