A total of 893,900 people will be targeted by the newly-launched EnCoMi project, aimed at improving the ability of health systems in four districts of Northern Uganda to prevent and better treat cases of malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.
The initiative, whose acronym means "Engagement of Communities to Maximize Impact against HIV, TB, and malaria in Acholi Sub-region", is financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and will last for 24 months.
The four districts where the actions of the project will be carried out are Gulu, Kitgum, Lamwo and Amuru: this area of operation was strategically selected due to the current significant challenges that are being encountered in managing cases of malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.
The project goal is to improve the health system's response to these diseases, by training health workers, raising awareness and creating demand, while ensuring access to health care services at community level.
Numerous interventions will be conducted at three levels:
District level: To improve district health systems for evidence-based planning, strengthening their capacity to manage and utilize data for decision making.
Health facility level: To improve the quality of malaria, HIV and tuberculosis services, enhancing capacity of health workers to implement such services alongside prevention, clinical care, community tracking and quality of care.
Community level: To improve community demand, acceptance and utilization of available malaria, HIV and tuberculosis services, including the use of key community sustainable innovative approaches.
The project launch took place on February 4, 2022, in the Agago District (also located in the Acholi Sub-region), with the participation of several experts in the medical field and representatives of the Government of Uganda.
Simon Odokonyero, the biostatician from Lamwo District, led the government representatives from the four districts through a review of health center performance data.
While doing so, he pointed out that “malaria is the leading cause of mortality in the Acholi Sub-region.
In 2021,108 deaths of children under five - caused by malaria - were registered."
Furthermore, he underlined that only 78% of HIV-positive patients were placed on ARV (antiretroviral) treatment: a lower percentage than Uganda's national target of 98%.
"This project will improve the lives of the people of Acholi", he stated.
Dr. Lawrence Ojom, AVSI health specialist, also intervened and exhorted the people present to actively participate during the implementation of the project by saying "You are all invited to consider this project as yours."
He underlined that AVSI recognizes the ongoing efforts of the Government of Uganda to ensure the quality of the health care services provided in these four districts, as well as in the entire country.
"We will continue to strengthen our collaboration and to work hand-in-hand with the health teams in the area to reach our targets and to achieve good results", he concluded.