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NACWOLA – We are the solution.

Uganda Female Condom Coalition.

Female condom pack

Female condom pack

Background of UFCC

The Uganda Female Condom Coalition (UFCC) is policy advocacy coalition comprised of twenty organizations working on reproductive health and HIV and AIDS that are committed to the promotion of the use of the Female Condom as an alternative means of family planning and prevention of STIs/HIV and AIDS. The Coalition was galvanized into formation after training on ‘Female Condom Advocacy’ workshop organized by Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) and Global Campaign for Microbicides in June 2009.

The Uganda Female Condom Coalition (UFCC) is received   funding from centre for health and gender equity to advocate for the finalization of the condom policy and ensure that all other relevant policies include components relevant to female condoms. These included future policies that define the national quality testing protocol and regulatory approval process, review of the donor funding policies to allow for bulk female condom purchases that can facilitate price reductions and minimize gaps in supply, and ensure effective representation of the UFCC on the Condom stakeholders’ group.

The $5000 grant was for a period of six months and meant to be implemented from October 4th through Arpil 2012. With a major objective of  lobbying Uganda Ministry of Health, Johnson snow international (JIS), Management Health science (MSH) which are USAID implementing agencies and UNFPA and MSI to commit to purches 1.5 million female condom by 2013.

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We never back down!

 

FOOD SHORTAGE

 Food shortage may lead to death and drug resistance for PLWA in Teso sub-region
HIV-positive patients in drought-hit eastern Uganda are abandoning their anti-retroviral regimens in droves, and leaders fear that unless more food becomes available, they will soon be dealing with drug resistance and death.
“If the government doesn’t address the food crisis, many of us who are on ARVs are going to die,” said Stella, a NACWOLA member at Katakwi district.
A total of 17 districts in northwestern, northeastern and eastern Uganda have been listed as worst-hit by a nationwide drought, and another 31 districts are experiencing “acute food shortages” while four districts have been evaluated as “moderately affected.” A prolonged dry spell has withered the region’s traditional crops, leaving hundreds of thousands of people hungry, many surviving on a diet of bought maize meal rather than a balanced diet.
Those most affected are PLWA on ARVs. This famine has destructed antiretroviral therapy (ART) trends in the country. An estimated 180,000 individuals are currently on ART, which is only a fraction of the estimated 360,000 people in need of ARVs.
In an assessment by National Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (NACWOLA) in Teso a sub-region in eastern Uganda, it was found that HIV/AIDS patients in the region take their ARV drugs on the understanding of food being available. In the absence of food, many stop taking their ARVs, putting their lives at risk. TB drugs and ARVs are very strong; if taken without food, they cause dizziness and general body weakness.
“When you take these drugs without eating, they make you weak and reduce your strength – you feel like vomiting,” said,Jemina NACWOLA Soroti Chairperson District.
The government has spent an estimated US$10 million on food for the Teso sub-region, however not all needs have been met.
“The food being given to our people is just a drop in the ocean,” said Patrick Amuriat, chairman of Teso Parliamentary Group. “What can one cup of beans and two of posho [maize flour] do? It’s just for one meal.”
The National community of women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda NACWOLA calls upon Government to provide sufficient food to the people to reduce some side-effects of ARVs and promote adherence to drug regimens. The government to do all that it takes to increase the supply of food in this region and more so to the HIV/AIDS people. To set a criteria for giving out food in the region giving special attention and priority to people living with HIV/AIDS and more so those on either ARVs or TB treatment.
Civil society organization are called upon to carry out sensitization and encouraging clients on ARVs to continue taking the drugs because if they default, this will build resistance to drugs which can be another difficult condition to deal with in the future? It’s a choice of life or death that our members have to take.
For PLWA are called upon to continue taking the ARVs/TB drugs and seek medical advice before discontinuing medication.

How Uganda’s food shortage is affecting ART and TB treatment.

Uganda is one of the very few countries around the world that is recorded to have brought a generalized epidemic under control. From a prevalence rate of 18% among the adult population in 1992, today the prevalence rate is ranging between 6.3 and 6.7%.
It is estimated that 180,000 individuals are currently on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the country. However, this is only a fraction of the estimated 360,000 people in need of ARVs. It is now generally believed that new infections are re-emerging and the number of people being infected annually is more than the number of people put on ART in the same period.

 

Women,Children with HIV/AIDS and Economic Crisis

Testimonies!

My name is Sarah Ndagire, yes I have been affected we used to get food from NACWOLA but we no longer get food. They told us that, World Food no longer gives food due to the economic crisis; they have also stopped some projects that used to help us with income generating activities they told us that the donors have cut the amount of money they give; that has had a challenge with my life. Am on treatment, my body is weak, I do not know how am going to survive. I have children to pay fees for; the sponsors have stopped the payment of the fees. It is painful for me to see my children not going to school.

Am a teacher, I have not been paid for two months; the pupils have not paid the fees; so I cannot get my salary yet; until the money is colleted. The parents are saying they cannot pay in time because they do not have the money to pay and they are blaming this to the credit crunch which has affected what they do. This means I cannot also buy all that I need in time so am really affected by the credit crutch. Well it is hard to tell if this is the effect, but that is what I am told. Nakanyike Stephan.

Women,Children with HIV/AIDS and Economic Crisis

 “Global financial crisis” Is a very common word these days to explain a lot of situations that have got something to do with money in Uganda.Yesterday I wanted to get a tax man to take me to one of the hotels at the city centre; he told me a price, which I thought, was not realistic. When I challenged him he said “Credit Crunch” and I asked him “what about it well?” He could not explain; but he said “e bintu birinye” Meaning prices have gone high.He reduced the price, and as he drove me to the hotel I contemplated on what he actually meant by saying prices have gone up.This morning I visited a number of women living with HIV/AIDS I asked them what their experiences are about the Credit Crunch.

 

Standing the test of time – 2008.

“Scaling up through partners: Over coming obstacles to implementation” Is the theme of the meeting of HIV/AIDS implementers that will take place in Uganda on 7th June 2008.
“The success and progress of Uganda in the fight against HIV AIDS pandemic, is not attributed to one partner. It’s the effort of many partners, the church leaders, the private sector, the good governance in our country and the civil society organizations e.t.c” Kihumuro Apuli the director general Uganda AIDS commission told journalists in his opening remarks at the press conference this morning.
The press conference which was also addressed by the USA embassy deputy chief of mission Andrew Chritton, UNICEF Uganda representative Mr. Keith McKenzie and Director, CDC-Uganda Jordan Tappero, was intended to brief the media in Uganda on the HIV/AIDS implementers meeting from all over the world due to take place in Uganda.
Recognizing the rapid expansion of HIV/AIDS programs world wide, the focus of this year’s meeting is: Building the capacity of local HIV prevention, treatment, and care programs, Enhancing quality, Promoting coordination among partners.
The forum will facilitate open dialogue about future directions of HIV/AIDS Programs, with a strong emphasis on implementation, best practices and identification of critical Barriers.
The 2008 program will focus on how implementers are meeting challenges that affect the scale-up of HIV/AIDS prevention treatment and care. Six themes for the meeting have been identified that cut across all subject matter areas of HIV/AIDS programming: 1-Monitoring and evaluation for impact improvement, 2-Human capacity development, 3-Knowing your epidemic and Response, 4-Coordination and Harmonization, 5-Linking people with Resources, 6-Integration of services.
“The meeting is about how we can save as many lives as possible as quickly as possible”
The USA embassy deputy chief of mission Andrew Chritton, in his remarks, told the press conference.
UNICEF Uganda representative said that UNICEF reaffirms their commitment to children and AIDS he pledged a strong push with partners for an AIDS free generation.
The Director General also revealed that I. I million people live with HIV/AIDS virus and 6.4% of these are old people. He also said that only 10% of Ugandans know there HIV/AIDS status in spite of the voluntary counseling tests (VCT) that have been going on In the country. The Doctor also said that by April 2008, 125,000 people have been on ARVs though it is about 254,000 people that need ARVs.
He also said that due to the new infection increase of about, 130,000 cases every year the number of people who will need ARVs is going to go high to about, 350,000 people. The increase in new infections doctor said is about laxity among people but also due to the rapid growth of the population in Uganda. Since an average woman in Uganda produces seven children. About 100,000 people die of HIV/AIDS related diseases every year and this is an increase from 72,000 two years ago.
Doctor Apuli asked journalist always to be equipped with information “since you are there to educate People.”

Our staff in Masindi district investigating allegations that a doctor does tuba-legation on HIV positive women without their consent.
NACWOLA staff interviewing the women living positive, these women live in camps, they have been displaced by war in the northern part of Uganda, and some come from southern Sudan. A picture in Panyadoli camp.

This picture was taken by our staff in the Eastern part of the country, I mean Uganda commonly known as the pearl of Africa, on the 12th/04/2008.
“She is just left to die in the house, only the skin covers her bones, which are about to piece through the frail skin, but the whole flesh, is eaten up by the opportunistic infections. She has a growth in her mouth that is suspected to be a cancer eating up her tang. “
In this district, healthy services especially to HIV/AIDS patients are next to impossible due to poverty and lack of the services. Who will ever help such people!!??

It’s quite unfortunate for some women living with HIV/AIDS in areas where NACWOLA has not yet established her roots. Of recent NACWOLA secretariat went to visit Kamuli district for a situational analysis for the new program implementation.
What was thought a done deal in some areas was found a severe problem this area of visitation, women need help!!!!
This is serious and it calls for an immediate attention, NACWOLA we must wake up. By RB – M&E Unit.

Over the years, women living with HIV/AIDS would die with the passion of wishing to have babies if at all they discovered their status prior to being mothers
Thank God for PMTCT program, its now realised as a human right for HIV+ Women to choose their own reproductive career.
This is one of the thousands of NACWOLA HIV- babies born to women living with HIV/AIDS.