The First Mile project that is implemented by Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Community Health Department in collaboration with Massachusetts General hospital in Boston Massachusetts in USA has registered successful stories in health care service provision to the communities in Mbarara and southwestern Uganda.
In 2018, Mbarara University of Science and Technology through the Faculty of Medicine Community Health Department established a project known as First Mile Community Health Program aimed at creating a strong bond between the community and the health service providers. The First Mile sends specially trained doctors, nurses, and village health workers into communities and schools. They work on the prevention and treatment of a variety of common diseases there.
On June 16 2022, the program held its re-orientation and planning meeting with health facility leaders to launch the second implementation phase. According to the program coordinator, Dr. Peter Kawungezi the purpose of this project was to take health services to the people within their communities so that they don’t difficulties in attaining the required service.
‘’First mile was derived from the Last mile project in Liberia which was looking at how individuals can reach health facilities to get their desired health services. First mile was designed to extend health services to the communities and we have registered achievements. Both the community and the health service providers have benefited from this program accessing modern health services and up-to-date skills respectively,’’ He expounded.
The project has had its first phase completed successfully with achievements in mentoring and equipping health professionals with new technologies used in caesarian section, training community health providers in the use of ultrasound machine, establishment of specialized ophthalmology clinics in Lugazi Mbarara city. Further, the program has established community health research grants to build capacity of health providers in data analysis for preparations of research dissemination workshops.