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Opinion: Community health workers will be the main defense in rural Uganda against coronavirus

It is a cool, still morning in Seeta Nazigo Village, Central Uganda. The heavy seasonal rains have ceased and the sun begins to glint through the cracked windowpanes of the local health center’s Anti-Retroviral Clinic. Fourteen community health workers are packed into the small room.

Community health workers, who have formed the bedrock of Uganda’s primary health system since 2001, are lay persons acting in a voluntary capacity to deliver vital health services in their respective villages. These services range from recognizing and treating common childhood illnesses, such as malaria and pneumonia, to providing maternal health services where otherwise none would be available. Now they’ll be facing Covid-19, a disease that has countries with highly developed health care systems scrambling to keep up.

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