Kibuuba’s all-round hero

“There are four characteristics to a key influencer. You should be knowledgeable, a confident speaker, an opinion leader in the community and a good listener to be able reach an agreement.”

Father of five Moses Bisoborwa has been a voluntary community health worker in Kibuuba village since Malaria Consortium started working in Uganda 15 years ago. He has been trained to diagnose and treat children for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea or refer them to the nearest hospital when the illness is severe. Health facility staff ensure regular supervision. This approach is called integrated community case management, or iCCM, and is supported by Uganda’s National Malaria Control Programme. The knock-on effect of Moses’ knowledge is tangible: over the past five years none of his children has caught malaria. When he is not volunteering as a health worker, Moses works as an HIV/AIDS counsellor. His skills now cover all the main health issues his community struggles with, making him an all-round health provider.

His motivation and dedication was noticed by the district leaders when they came to Kibuuba village to select a key influencer for USAID’s Malaria Action Programme for Districts. Moses passed a range of interviews and eventually landed this important role.

Moses urges mothers to have their children tested before treatment

“I feel very proud, because I have been working for Malaria Consortium to improve the health in my community for so long,” Moses said, “When this chance came along I grabbed it as my community still has health problems and people need good health to survive.”

As a key influencer, Moses conducts community dialogues about health related challenges. These dialogues are engaging conversations where Moses uses flipcharts with pictures illustrating different messages on malaria prevention and treatment, which make these complicated messages easy to understand.

“During these meetings, people come to understand the malaria problem we are facing and we come to a solution. At the end we reach action points and we agree that people commit to them. When we meet again, we look back and follow up on what we agreed as well as what we need to add to make progress.”

Moses’ community dialogues bring young and old together

After each meeting, Moses writes a report which is given to staff from USAID’s Malaria Action Program for Districts, who work closely with the district leaders and share the report with them. This ensures the key health challenges of communities like Kibuuba are known and addressed by the district.

Moses’ training to become a key influencer has empowered him to improve his community’s habits of good health. He already sees change happening. “Changes are there. I conduct home visits and see that the mosquito nets that were distributed are being used correctly. People also seek health care within the community more often and more quickly.”

Moses finds it very important that we continue these dialogues. “The community needs this intervention, people are willing to learn new things and I have learnt new things from them as well. They feel engaged, are hearing good news and learning so many things that will change their lives.”