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Showing posts from January, 2016

Venturing into moonlight clinics

The first time Emma was told to go and offer services in some of the biggest slum in Kampala, he was scared. TASO was rolling out a project to offer services to people living and working in HIV high risk areas. This service was named the Moonlight Clinics. 
During the Moonlight clinics, TASO staff had to go and offer services to Long Distance Truck Drivers, Sex workers and their clients, Men who have sex with Men and any other group that was easy to target at night under the moon light. These are groups of people who are hardly seen during the day due to the nature and stigma attached to their work and lives. The services offered included psychosocial support, HIV Testing and Counseling, referral to Public Health Facilities for further care and the medical team treated Opportunistic Infestions and Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Emma is just one of the many staff who went to Wandegeya, Katanga, Kalerwe, Nakulabye, Kibuye, Kabalagala, Nakawa and Gaba. He shared his story w…

Spending less hours in the field while improving our service delivery.

During another of my field trips, I went on a field visit with Molly and Ali to one of the TASO Mulago Community Drug Distribution Points in Kasangati. It was a 20 minute drive to the place and I had another learning session while we traveled there and back.
A Community Drug Distribution Point (CDDP), is a central place chosen by a group of registered TASO clients from where they can pick up their drug refills from TASO staff. This is part of the TASO Community ART model in which client satisfaction is met by reducing their costs and distance of travel to the Center and also giving a chance to TASO to provide them its services within the clients' environment. 
Kasangati is one of many such points served by TASO Mulago. The clients at this CDDP, and like in all other TASO CDDPs, are stable on their antiretroviral treatment, are above 18 years (in other words not children) and they have been assessed by both the Counseling and Medical team and have been found suitable t…

Dr. Christine Nabiryo hands over to Dr. Michael Etukoit

Yesterday, 13 October 2014, a team of Directors witnessed the handover ceremony for the new TASO Executive Director. Mr. Emmy Ngabirano - the Board Vice Chairperson, appreciated the outgoing Executive Director for her efforts in leading TASO for the past two years. Mr Ngabirano went on to welcome Dr. Etukoit , who he said was not new to TASO, and pledged on behalf of the Board to work closely with him. He assured him that the Board was aware of his capabilities and was looking forward to Dr. Etukoit steering the TASO team to even greater heights.

12 years now and we are still alive thanks to Bono.

The year was 2002 when Bono visited TASO Mulago unit. He was greatly impressed by the work being done by TASO staff but especially by the Peer Support Group, of 25 HIV positive clients, which was using music, dance and drama to sensitize their communities. Bono was moved by the fact that while the group members had courageously given a human face to HIV in Uganda, they were weak and needed more help. He asked what he could do to help TASO. 
Thinking that they had very little time left to live, members of the group thought that it would be better for them to receive financial support so that they could each buy a piece of land and possibly build houses for their respective families. The then Executive Director - Dr. Alex Coutinho -suggested that rather than receive financial aid, Bono could donate life prolonging drugs to the group. This was because TASO had not yet rolled out the ART programme within its units. This would enable the members to live long enough to build th…

Refresher training for expert clients in basic HIV counseling

TASO has always used communities to implement its programmes. It is one of the earliest lessons learned and  is one of the reasons why TASO has been successful in both programme and project implementation.  TASO Mulago is the oldest branch of TASO. Being in the Capital city, it bears the weight of having to serve in the most populated part of the country. It serves a cross section of clients living in the urban and Peri-urban areas. Within these areas  are communities and each community has TASO clients living within it. Over the years TASO has trained those clients who are willing to come out about their HIV status, live as community models, volunteer as peer support members, are able to read and write and are willing to train their fellow clients within the communities in which they live. They are therefore seen as better informed and able to act as a link between TASO and the communities. These clients are called expert clients.

Is the work we do and effort we put in to perfect our services worth it?

 Nulu Tabizanga is a client registered with TASO Jinja even though she lives around 56km away from the Center. Because of this distance, Nulu is a beneficiary of the Community Drug Distribution Point services offered by TASO in  Kitayunjwa sub country  in Kamuli district.
Nulu can not read or write and does not know how old she is. She says that she never suspected that she was HIV positive until after her husband died of a mysterious death. A neighbor suggested to her that she go to TASO for an HIV test. Nulu did and unfortunately the results came out positive. She did not give up but rather decided to look at it as a new chance at life. She was started on ARVs, taught how to take care of her dietary needs and asked to bring any other members of her family for HIV testing and counseling. According her, she has never missed a day without taking her drugs.

TASO towards its Golden Jubilee

Sustainability and continued contribution to leadership in quality community based health services delivery plus elimination of HIV and AIDS, August 2014
The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) is a household name in Uganda. The Brand has been developed over the last 26 years out of the organisation's efforts to serve individuals, families and communities of people living with HIV and AIDS from the time when stigma and discrimination were still very high in the country.
TASO is an indigenous non profit organisation with 11 branches spread across Uganda, in Entebbe, Gulu, Jinja, Kampala, Masaka, Masindi, Mbale, Mbarara, Rukungiri, Soroti and Tororo. To date, TASO has touched lives of over 500,000 PLHIV in Uganda and countless others across the world. TASO's approach has been through the use of peer and community based approaches to service delivery.

Commemorating the 2015 Candlelight memorial - Kaunda Grounds Gulu District

This year the Candlelight Memorial was held in Gulu at the Kaunda Grounds. The Function began with a march through the town by representatives of various stakeholders in the HIV and AIDS fight in Uganda. 
The commemoration theme was a continuation of the one used last year for the World AIDS Day campaign which was Getting to Zero: my responsibility. 
In his speech the Guest of Honor, Hon. Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo urged service providers to put emphasis on prevention especially through abstinence. He remarked that with a prevalence of 7.1% in Gulu, there should be measures to ensure that it came down. He pointed out that having an average of 400 people getting infected in Uganda every day is alarming. Rev. Fr. Lokodo urged the youth to be vigilant and take responsibility for their lives since they were the future leaders. He went on to say that promiscuity and pornography are making sex cheap and yet it was meant for only those who are married and are faithful to each other. H…

Partnering with Government to improve service delivery in Public Health Facilities - Health Systems Strengthening

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with the Government of Uganda to improve services within the Public Health Facilities. This is done to create union between efforts of the Central Government and the Local Government in the various districts by making use of the AIDS Service Organisations already serving within those districts. Through this partnership, funding is from the CDC, service delivery is by a Government facility with supervision and technical support from an AIDS Service Organisation.
TASO is offering supervision and technical support to the 54 Public Health Facilities within the Districts of Jinja, Tororo and Manafwa. This support includes; signing Memorandum of Understanding with these districts to clearly state each partner's role, mentorship and technical support in the areas of medical and psychosocial services. It also includes infrastructure improvement, building capacity of human resources, monitoring and evaluation, enhanc…

TASO partnering with Aidshilfe für Afrika to improve lives of those living with HIV in Soroti District

This partnership began with an exchange programme between the Catholic Church of Soroti and Osnabrück club in Germany. During this programme, part of the delegation was made up of staff from TASO Soroti who talked about their organisation. Among those listening was a member of the Rotary Club of Osnabrück. After hearing about the great work being done by TASO, the TASO Staff together with Christine Kaiping of Aidshilfe für Afrika (AfA)initiated the partnership in 2005 with support from the Rotary Club of Osnabrück. AfA is an organisation which was founded in November 2005 to contribute to the fight against AIDS in Africa, supports the TASO unit in Soroti. 

Through this partnerhsip, TASO Soroti has received the following support; Provision of ART services and general drugs for 200 clients (out of the 7,504 active clients registered at TASO Soroti) to enable them live a better and healthier life. Automated Laboratory equipment worth 40,000 Euros including a machine to coun…

TASO in the Karamoja region

Following the successful implementation of the first SCALAP - K project (2012 - 2014) in the Karamoja region, Irish Aid announced a one year project extension starting May 2015 and ending April 2016. This is still a tripartite contract arrangement between TASO, AMICAALL and the Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA).

This time in addition to the initial 5 districts of Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Napak, Kotido and Abim, SCALAP - K is now operational in Amudat and  Kaabong.

Details about the SCALAP - K project can be found in an earlier post written in June 2014.

Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission Campaign launch held in Teso sub region

The EMTCT Campaign was launched in the Teso sub region on Friday 31st July 2015 under the sub theme: Keeping families in Care. The Guest of Honor was the Champion herself , the First Lady, Mrs. Janet K. Museveni. During her speech, she thanked the campaign organizing team which had been with her  throughout the campaign in the other sub regions, for making this yet another successful function. 

Mrs. Museveni said that this campaign is aimed at making people angry enough to commit themselves to being part of having an HIV free generation through total elimination of Mother to Child transmission of HIV. She reminded the fathers that they have a duty to their wives, children and entire families to be responsible and keep them safe. In addition to this, she said that it was beautiful to listen to then children who are born HIV negative say in their own words that their mothers were their heroes for protecting them. She ended her speech by encouraging both development and impl…

Involving PLHIV in service delivery

As I take photographs during a clinic day in TASO Tororo, a lady's voice behind me laughingly says, 
"That was not a very good one. They are all looking at you instead of paying attention to the health talk facilitator"
It turns out that the voice belongs to Judith Apai, a Community ART Support Agent (CASA) at one of the TASO Tororo Community Drug Distribution Points (CDDP). She has come to the Center for cervical cancer screening but she also has pain down her right side. She tells me about how women her age (she is 52 years old) and older feel that they should not go for cervical cancer screening because they are not sexually active. Yet Judith knows that the health workers told them that the HPV virus can remain alive in the cervix for a while before the cancer manifests. So she feels that after some years, she should come back for another check up and so should others. 
After telling me why she has come to the Center, she then tells me about her life. Jud…

Can you donate a wheelchair to Nubuat - a client TASO Jinja?

Two years ago(2013), Nubuat was taken to TASO Jinja in critical condition and had to be enrolled immediately into care. She later got Tuberculosis and narrowly survived death. She became blind and also lost the use of her legs. Because she was unable to continue working, Nubuat lost her job at one of the Nursing schools. Right now she is living with her parents in the village. 
She has to use crutches to walk, but unfortunately the ones she has are not for her height. It would be so much better if she could get a wheel chair to enable her get around. Do you know of any places or organisations that can donate to Nubuat a wheelchair while TASO continues to monitor her health? 
Please contact TASO (U) Ltd on or post on our Facebook/Twitter pages. 
Thank you.