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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Pretending to care when the truth is that they do not really care: 11,604 Ugandan patients living with HIV/AIDS stranded as USAID funded project ends



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Thousands of HIV/AIDS patients stranded as project ends

By Agencies 

Posted  Tuesday, August 7  2012 at  16:40
In Summary
The five year USAID funded NUMAT program has come to an end leaving hundreds of HIV/AIDS patients stranded.

Thousands of HIV/AIDS patients are at risk after the USAID funded Northern Uganda Malaria and Tuberculosis (NUMAT) program came to an end.

The project was started in 2006 with the aim of expanding access to and utilization of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria prevention, treatment and care activities in northern Uganda. It officially closed shop last month.

The closure has however left hundreds of its former clients from various districts in northern Uganda without access to care and treatment.

Michael Ochora, the former Communications Director of NUMAT, says that the HIV/AIDS patients who were under the program were handed over to government and should receive care and treatment from government health centers. He however expressed fear that the reported absence of drugs in government-run facilities might instead harm them.

Ochora says NUMAT signed a memorandum with the government at the start of the project that the patients would revert to receiving treatment from the government once the project wound down.

NUMAT was a five-year USAID-funded program that designed in consultation with the Ministry of Health, Uganda AIDS Commission, and other agencies working with people living with HIV/AIDS.

11,604 people living with HIV/AIDS were by the end of last year receiving treatment under the program.

Pioneer recipient of ARVs under Pepfar soldiers on eight years after kissing death


Posted  Tuesday, August 7  2012 at  01:00
In Summary
Lucky. Fired by the employer and deserted by his wife when ill, Mr Engole, the first person in the world to receive treatment under US-funded PEPFAR programme, has regained his health and productivity as well as a new job.

He sat on a plastic chair, legs outstretched. Facing John Robert Engole, and dressed in school uniforms, were his two teenage daughters. And a doctor in a white laboratory coat planted himself on a stool, leaning backward in the same 3-section cubicle contrived with hospital curtains in this storey structure.

Mr Engole, 43, is an idolised man-at least for his pluck. Last Friday and at the headquarters of Reach Out Mbuya HIV/Aids Initiative, a faith-based organisation, he was a locus of animated confab.

Ms Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of State, was minutes away arriving in a crawling convoy to this hilly and leafy Kampala suburb. The mood was uptight. And soldiers from the Uganda’s elite Special Forces Group (SFG) frisked every visitor after ushering them through a metal detector.

Inside the quadrangle, two members of the Secretary’s security detail clad in black suits paced up and down, scanning for the minutest happening around the podium where Ms Clinton would deliver her address. To the right, cultural entertainers – the males bare-chested – and spotting beads and bark-cloth, briskly pounded the drums in exhilaration.
Anxiety was in the air outside as it was in the rooms where three people living with HIV/Aids and on life-saving drugs had been ranged to give personal testimonies to Ms Clinton, America’s diplomacy juggernaut --- who wields power to endorse or discontinue overseas programmes.

Among the arranged speakers was Mr Engole, a teacher, and the first person in the world to be placed on life-saving treatment under the George Walker Bush-signed President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or Pepfar.

He does not know when he got the virus. Living in denial, he said, plunged him into a sapping health crisis and his CD4 count had dropped to 1, a red zone of vanished immunity, upon which he was immediately placed on ARVs.