Who loves the mango?
I took this picture of a mango tree a couple of weeks ago in Uganda for my daughter who loves mangos. Uganda at this time of year is very fertile and green, with fruit and vegetables growing everywhere.
After 4 months in a London office, I was given the opportunity to travel to Kampala for a week to help out with a workshop designing a new project. I wasn’t exactly sure what this entailed before I went, but it proved to be a very enlightening and enjoyable week and I now have a much better understanding of how the Malaria Consortium plans their projects.
The project we were designing is to provide seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) to children under the age of 5 in the Sahel. The Sahel is a region of Africa between the Sahara desert to the north and the Sudanian Savannah to the south, which spans across the whole continent from the West coast to the Red sea in the east. In this region the countries experience 4 months of rainy season annually, which coincides with increased cases of malaria. It is estimated that 86% of reported deaths from malaria occur to children under the age of 5 within this region, and SMC intervention during the rainy season has been shown to be effective.
On the Friday I was very fortunate to accompany one of the local Monitoring and Evaluation officers from the Malaria Consortium, on a trip out to Kalungu District; about 3 hours drive from Kampala. There we were observing quarterly meetings of the village health team (VHT). The Ministry of Health is implementing the VHT strategy to ensure that every village in Uganda has capacity to mobilize individuals and households for better health. VHT members are community volunteers who are selected by communities to provide correct health information, mobilize communities and provide linkage to health services. The meetings, held in the local health centres, are organised to discuss issues and to enhance training and reporting. All the VHTs came along with their suitcases full of information, forms and the drugs that they have been given to perform their role. They were all enthusiastic, participating in the conversations and learning from each other, and I was greeted as special guest.
I am back now in the London head office, looking out over to another concrete office block on a cold November day, but have this photo of sun rise over Lake Victoria, taken from the hotel balcony, to remind me of my time spent in Uganda.