Welcome to 2017. What will this year bring?
For Kawempe Home Care (KHC) in 2017 we will continue our work to strive and create a difference to those people who need our care. We are very fortunate to have the support of friends and partners that share our dreams and goals to assist the poorest and most disadvantaged people in our communities.
It all began ……….
It is hard to believe that on 27 July 2017, KHC will celebrate its 10th anniversary. We have come a long way since 2007 and when I look back on our humble beginnings -an old car which was the mobile clinic (which Anni Fjord generously provided) and 5 volunteers, to what we have achieved today we are filled with pride.
During this time, we have cared for over 4,200 patients with HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and cancer.
The disturbing images of AIDS patients dying in their homes, bed ridden patients stuck in water logged houses in the swampy slum areas, patients in pain and without medication, orphaned children crying helplessly, elderly grandmothers struggling to provide for their ill children and grandchildren are still fresh in our minds.
All this gloom and doom didn’t scare the devoted team of health professionals and community volunteers. Instead it made the team more determined to do everything possible to relieve the pain and suffering, one patient at a time. With very little idea of where the next batch of medicines, fuel for home visits, transport for the health workers or where the next meal for the team would come from. We soldiered on.
News about the service we were providing to AIDS patients spread through the community like wild fire, we would get at least 5 community referrals every day and the majority were bedridden with the disease. The good Lord was faithful to the team and the more patient referrals we would receive, the more reinforcements he would send. These included donations of medicines, stipends for the team, new partnerships were established and organisations provided the antiretroviral medicines, Tuberculosis medicines, laboratory supplies and reagents, rent and stipends for the team etc.
Looking back, KHC has surely contributed immensely to the battle against HIV/AIDS in our community. We have fewer bed ridden patients, fewer AIDS deaths and better survival and quality of life for our patients and their families. We greatly appreciate the support of our long-term partners; Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) /PEPFAR, the Infectious Disease Institute (IDI) for the PEPFAR sub grant management and technical assistance they provide. Hope for Children and Friends of Out Reach.
The photos below show how far KHC has come from its first year in operation up to now.
(Far left) 2008- the main clinic.
(Left) 2016- more than trebled our space.
(Far left) 2008- local transport for home visits
(Left) 2016 a vehicle enables more home visits and easier access in remote villages
(Right) 2016 main clinic consulting rooms provide privacy for patients.
2008 – dispensing medication at the outreach clinic 2016 – more medication options available for patients
2008 – laboratory facilities with limited investigations at the main 2016 – new equipment enables KHC clinic. to do 70% of the investigations.
Our clinical team continue to provide quality professional services to our patients.
The battle isn’t over yet, we still have a lot to do to ensure an AIDS free generation and we have taken up the UNAIDS 90-90-90 strategy i.e. 90% of HIV positive people knowing their status, 90% are on antiretroviral medication and 90% of those on antiretroviral medication having viral suppression.
To our gallant friends and partners, thank you for being by our side during this 10 year journey. We couldn’t have done it without your support. As an organisation we are continually evolving and looking for ways to provide new services and improve existing practices so that patients receive access to the care and support they need. Now we are seeing more of our clients, both old and young who have cancer related illnesses. We are therefore strengthening our services to ensure we continue to provide quality care for clients with cancer and their families. We are also engaging in cancer prevention activities like breast and cervical cancer screening. We want to be able to identify people early with the diseases so we can refer them for care.
New Hope Hostel – Providing wonderful support to young children with cancer and I would like you to meet one of our young patients Jonah.
I am living with cancer (Jonah has cancer of lymphatic system). My parents are still alive and there are 4 children in our family. My mother had to leave her job because she had to take care of me since I wasn’t doing very well. She got tired of taking care of me because my condition became worse. One time she even told me “How I wish I had spent my money to build my house rather than spending the money on your health”.
She lost hope in me and left me with my father and went and got married to another man. My father took care of me and we got someone to pay for some of my hospital bills. My mother would come to pay us a visit and that was all.
Life was hard for us and the person we had to help us didn’t have a job yet he sent money for my brothers to buy food. It was by God’s mercy that we met someone from Kawempe Home Care at Mulago hospital and she told us about the children’s hostel.
At first I was scared because I didn’t know the place but since I was with my father I gained confidence. Fortunately the place didn’t look the way we thought it would be. We were happy to find a safe and joyful environment that I had never lived in before. I have enjoyed every bit of being in the hostel and being surrounded by caring and loving people.
I don’t know which words to use to explain the good food and the comfortable beddings that we have. I came without knowing how to write my name and now I can read and write.
When I am discharged I don’t want to go home because I will miss the hostel meals and the pain I will feel leaving the hostel team. I have hope that I will get well and be cured of this cancer. Thank you Kawempe Home Care.’
KHC has started a new project to provide family planning services for clients with HIV/AIDS and the general community.
The proportion of women aged 15-49 reporting use of a modern contraceptive method has risen minimally or plateaued between 2008-1015. In Africa it went from 23.6% to 28.5% (World Health Organisation).
Promotion of family planning and ensuring access to preferred contraceptive methods for women and couples is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women, while supporting the health and development of communities.
Over the next 6 months KHC is working with Sustain Health Partnerships, a UK based organisation, to increase access to family planning services for 500 vulnerable girls and women in our community. A team of clinicians and community volunteers have received training in family planning and are now able to educate females in the community about the contraceptive methods available and enable them to select their preferred choice of contraceptive.
Family planning is very important for our community since it helps to:
- prevent unwanted pregnancies, which is crucial in prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.
- reduce maternal mortality from pregnancy associated health risks.
- reduce infant mortality.
KHC Unsung Heroes- Our Community Volunteers
Our community volunteers make an enormous difference to our patients well being. If you have paid a visit to Kawempe Home Care you may have met Mariah Assumpta (left) who has been a community volunteer with us since September 2007. She is dedicated and cheerful. Mariah is married and has 3 children, a girl and two boys.
‘I found out that I had HIV and was given ARVS from a health centre. During my first treatment I had a lot of side effects and so stopped taking the medication. I met a friend who told me about KHC. They showed me a lot of care and love and helped me to get back on my feet. As I got better I was inspired by how the health workers supported me and so I decided to also be a part of the good work as a community volunteer and help other HIV patients by giving them the love and support the same way I was given it when I need it most.
Recently I underwent the Family Planning training which covered why family planning is important, the different contraceptive methods and how to administer them. This service will be free to people of reproductive age. The approach will be one on one and also where possible through health facilities within the community.
There is a problem with some health centres as they charge a fee for Family Planning services. Also we must be sure that we get the correct information from people as this will ensure the best form of contraceptive is provided to them.
The people we have been seeing are happy with the service and as it is free we are able to reach and teach them the basics of family planning’.
Big smiles all round
Our tailoring business continues to grow from strength to strength and this has been greatly helped by the wonderful donations we have received to establish this business.
Currently the team (Left) are very busy filling an order from the European Association of Palliative Care who is having a conference in Madrid in May and we are near to completing an order for 2,500 bags for this conference.
We are also training 12 new tailors from Kasangati. This business not only provides a regular income for our tailors and their families but also income for KHC to continue to operate its services for clients.
So as you can see Kawempe Home Care has had a busy start to the year and we are looking forward to the rest of 2017.
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