Health

Health Projects

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND MENSTRUAL HYGIENE

Reproductive health is also a human right. All women have a health right to better menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is one of the most neglected topics both in reproductive health.

Reproductive health education is also important for adults and young people helping to raise awareness about puberty, menstruation, sexual violence, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, family planning, and maternal health. It empowers women and men to make informed decisions about their bodies, improve general health and wellbeing and overcoming inequality – it helps people to break the vicious cycles of poverty.

The poor reproductive health status is attributed to the following contributing factors;-

Lack of Education

According to UNICEF, 1 in 10 school-aged African girls either skip school during menstruation or drop out entirely because of lack of hygiene solutions. A girl who is absent from school for 4 days each month loses 13 learning days, equivalent to 2 weeks of learning in every school term. A girl in primary school (3 years long) loses approximately 18 weeks out of 108 school weeks, while a girl in secondary school (4 years long) loses 156 learning days, equivalent to almost 24 weeks out of 144 weeks of school. This is a clear indication that our girl children are becoming school drop-outs while still in school. This absenteeism is the leading cause of poor academic performance and subsequent dropping out of school among girls.

Poverty

Menstrual hygiene is clearly a neglected issue, yet it is a basic need of all women. The monthly expenditure for sanitary protection is about 2,500 UGX (just almost $0.72 US), costs prohibitive to a poor family in which the average monthly household income is about UGX 30,000 ($12 US). As the Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE) states:
. . . buying sanitary protection means a monthly spending equivalent of four radio batteries or enough paraffin to last a family one month. Where men most often control the household budget, how can girls succeed in getting sanitary materials on to the priority list? Where sanitary protection for one girl may cost around a tenth of a monthly family monthly income, how can a household afford this where there are 2 or 3 girls?

Luhwahwa Health Project

Women and girls making handmade reusable pads.

Our Approach

LUYODEFO works to ensure that adults and young people have access to adequate and accurate information about their bodies and body changes to be able to prevent unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, finish education and get out of the poverty trap:

  • We train in and out of school youth (at puberty), teachers, and the community (male and female of reproductive age) on legal, sexual and reproductive rights including menstrual hygiene management (MHM), spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS.
  • Working with local leaders and village health teams (VHTs) to challenge practices that may facilitate the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS.
  • Working with women and girls to locally produce and sell reusable sanitary pads, helping training girls and women to make cheaper reusable pads for their own use.
  • Conducting sanitary pad distribution actions (donated pads, locally made pads, donor-supported purchased pads).
  • Each year, we join the world to celebrate the 28th May as the Menstrual Hygiene Day and the Day of Action for Womens’s Health to break the silence and create awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential and advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
  • Teaching girls and women soap-making skills (soap is obviously essential not only when reusable sanitary pads are used, but for entire personal hygiene practices).
  • Establishing child friendly sanitation facilities in schools (toilets, washrooms, emergency kits, uniforms, pads, knickers, etc).

WATER AND SANITATION

In recent years, the Ugandan government has spent millions of dollars carrying out campaigns geared toward the provision of clean water as a way of promoting health and hygiene, focusing on preventing cholera, bilharzia, and other water-borne diseases. However, 40%-60% of Ugandans still lack access to safe drinking water.

More info coming soon — please check back.

Our Approach

LUYODEFO is doing the following to promote access to clean, safe water;-

  • Providing water low-cost water filtration systems (filters with buckets) and training community members on its use and maintenance.
  • Researching opportunities to partner with organisations to support the development and implementation safe water supply plants in the community.
  • Training villagers on environmental sanitation techniques (ESTs) to reduce water contamination both from the source and at household levels, lowering the risk of sanitary disease outbreak.

HEALTHCARE

Healthcare is a big challenge to the Ugandan community. With only 38% of healthcare posts filled in Uganda, the country suffers a chronic shortage of trained health workers – about 51% of people don’t have any contact with public healthcare facilities. Many rural Ugandans move a journey of about 20 kilometers to reach a health facility, oftentimes on foot (along roads) with no public transport. In Uganda, sanitation coverage is low; 17% in urban areas and 62% in rural areas – about 54% of households must travel 30 minutes or more to fetch drinking water.

The poor are more vulnerable to illnesses because they usually live in unhygienic conditions, have low levels of health awareness, fail to take preventive measures and may not afford to pay for diagnosis and effective treatment. There are hospitals near the villages where we operated and more specially near Kajwenge where Shine Preparatory School is located. However, they are too expensive for the orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), their caretakers and the students at Shine school. Without healthcare, students miss valuable school days and the caretakers are unable to care for these OVCs.

There is still a desperate need for a medical clinic to provide a much needed healthcare services. We are also planning to establish a medical clinic that will offer free healthcare services to OVCs and affordable quality health services to the communities; which will include health education, children weight-height monitoring, regular deworming, rapid testing (malaria, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, HCG, Hepatitis, diabetes, etc.), self-testing kits and insulin for diabetic patients, basic treatment and referrals for those needing advance care to government health facilities in the region. Through the clinic, it will be easy to collaborate with international health professional (medical students) to organize mobile health interventions, and run family based micro-insurance for the vulnerable people.

LUYODEFO believes that primary healthcare is a basic human right and recognizes that a healthy population is essential for growth, development, and prosperity in every society. We believe only ‘healthy people’ can break the poverty cycle. By establishing a strong foundation of healthcare and a solid infrastructure of good health in rural remote communities, we offer a chance to reverse the trend of poverty and create a brighter future.

Our Approach

Our community health program ensure that all people access adequate, affordable and effective services through 3-fold prolonged approaches;-

  • Promote Preventative Knowledge

We are educating villagers on specific, pertinent health issues to help them self-diagnose, understand the root causes of diseases and the benefits of seeking early treatment, learn clean birth practices, and recognize birth complication warning signs. Because many people use traditional remedies, we also advocate for integration of herbal medicine.

We are implementing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH program) through which we are supplying water filters and bringing clean water to communities; building appropriate toilets and hand-washing stations in schools; and working on the production and marketing of ‘cheap soap’ as key solutions in breaking the cycles disease spread.

  • Promote Demand for Quality Healthcare

We are educating villagers on the right to health and how they can hold their leaders accountable in promoting socio-health issues. We create awareness on the importance of early diagnosis and treatment; mobilize and partner with health facilities to implement community outreaches; we closely engage the village health teams (VHTs) who serve as a referral link between the community and Ugandan health facility; advocate for support to HIV+ people including educating them and their families on new approaches to AIDS management – the Differentiated Service Delivery Model (DSDM); and provide HIV/AIDS patients with transport to access ART for better health.

  • Promote Access to Healthcare

The problems that diminish the quality of care that public health centers can provide are widespread, from lack of equipment and supplies to a shortage of doctors. These problems have life and death implications for the community members served. We are partnering with health facilities in providing equipment and supplies to strengthen the public sector’s service delivery to thousands of people living in rural areas.