5 Weeks in UgandaPosted: Aug 10, 2012 | Category: Uganda
I just returned from 5 weeks in Uganda, my 10th mission since 2006. We have a small health unit in Lugala which is in the process of being registered with the Ministry of Health. And we work with several small schools, put in boreholes, distribute nets etc.
In lugala, near lake Victoria, just below Namayingo trading center, there is a crisis happening. People who had been getting ARVs have not been getting them since September. People are dying.
As I understand the problem from our nurse friend, Clementina Awino, TASO was supplying hiv meds under a 30 year contract which expired last fall. Now for some reason, no one is supplying the meds and the people cannot find them and even if they could, they couldn't afford them. (Some folks with low viral loads are taking septrine, though even that's expensive for these subsistence farmers at 3000 shillings per month, about $1.25.)
Friends, whatever the root causes of what's occurring, this is a matter of life and death. The Samia people need your help.
When the Irish aid group GOAL was still working in Lugala, Namayingo, our nurse and friend, Clementina Awino, set up three HIV Aids Support Groups, one in Buchumbu near our little health center, one in Lugala by the Lake and one in Bujwanga. These are chaired by, respectively, Gladys and her husband Aggrey, Alice and Valentine. The membership of these three groups is about 180 people and when we met with them on July 30 and July 31st, everyone confirmed that they no longer have access to life saving ARVs.
We are partnering with these groups through agricultural support designed in partnership to help people develop ongoing ways to support themselves and their families through supply of seeds, selling of handcrafts they make, provision of goats and a planned donation of a grinding mill to add value to their crops. More than 90% of the group members live in traditional grass homes and are subsistence farmers; a few people live in simple brick homes with iron sheet roofs; all are hopeful about their futures and joyous hard-working members of their communities.
Please help them get the meds they need to live.