“This is to increase the spread of the virus if awareness is not intensified”

“This is to increase the spread of the virus if awareness is not intensified”

“Community members have now relaxed when it comes to COVID-19; they are not following the guidelines by Ministry of Health like wearing masks or maintaining social distance”, says Kakooza George, who works as a community health volunteer in Mityana district, Uganda. “This is to increase the spread of the virus if awareness is not intensified.”

How has COVID affected daily life of children living with HIV?

George: “My biggest fear especially for children living with HIV in Uganda is the ARVs stock-out, given that priority is now on COVID-19. My other fear is that missed appointments will affect adherence and viral load suppression.

Movement restrictions have affected children by not going to school, families experience domestic violence attributing to staying at home amidst multiple demands that can’t wait. Uncertainty when COVID-19 will end causes anxiety among people. My family and I are surviving, slowly because we have been affected financially by the crisis.”

How do you currently support children living with HIV in need?

As volunteer working for Community Health Alliance Uganda (CHAU) George still manages to support to children living with HIV and their caretakers during COVID. “I provide information on COVID 19 and advise them about treatment adherence and nutrition. For those who have missed their appointments due to transport restrictions CHAU has facilitated me with transport to deliver their ARVs to their homes. I also collect ARVs from the health facility and distribute them to my fellow community health volunteers who take them to the different families of children with missed appointments.

My work is so important because some people feel so alone. When you visit and provide counseling they are encouraged because there is someone who cares about their health. It makes me feel happy when I can help someone in need.”

COVID Response Fund ensures access to HIV care

To ensure continued access to care for children living with or affected by HIV during COVID, CHAU applied for a grant through the Aidsfonds COVID Response Fund. With the funding they managed to facilitate:

  • 24 health workers to identify children that need assistance and make appointment reminders to caretakers of 300 children aged 0-14 years in HIV care;
  • 120 community health volunteers to identify children in care with due and missed appointments; collect ARVs from facilities and deliver them to clients at home; educate households on nutrition and treatment adherence; identify and provide food to 100 severely vulnerable households to promote treatment adherence of children;
  • Procurement of personal protective equipment.

About Community Health Alliance Uganda

Community Health Alliance Uganda is a registered non-profit organisation founded in 2010. It is an alliance of grassroot organisations that supports community driven action on SRHR, HIV, Tuberculosis  and other health issues in Uganda.

About Aidsfonds COVID Response Fund

Aidsfonds launched the 'COVID Response Fund' to support existing Aidsfonds grantees and partners in their urgent work to reach people in need. The fund is aimed at current partners to enable a rapid transfer of grants.

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