Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance

The power of people

1
MAY
2009

Aids Alliance

On 31 March, Alliance Uganda had the pleasure of hosting US Ambassador Steven A. Browning during a visit to Kisoro District in the west of Uganda, one of forty districts where the programme “Expanding the Role of Networks of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Uganda” (the Networks Project) is being implemented.

The Ambassador’s visit came exactly one hundred weeks after he attended the launch of the Networks Project, which is funded by the US Agency for International Development. A great believer in the power of people, the Ambassador had then urged Alliance Uganda to engage vulnerable individuals and groups, and to support them to become active partners in the AIDS response.

Milly Katana, Alliance Uganda Country Director, reported on how the Ambassador’s vision was being fulfilled. She said that the partnership with the US Government has enabled the Alliance to take many strides in Uganda towards accomplishing its mission of supporting communities to respond to HIV.

The project is implemented in half of Uganda’s eighty districts, where the Alliance works directly with groups of people living with HIV and over 1,300 Network Support Agents, all of whom are HIV positive. These women and men have put aside their HIV status and dedicated their lives to the service of others, working alongside health care workers at 643 sites, ranging from sub-county level health facilities to district and regional referral hospitals.

The quality of care provided to those living with or affected by HIV has been transformed as people living with HIV take the lead in facilitating access to services for vulnerable individuals. With this approach the programme has directly contributed to the Universal Access targets of the Uganda National Strategic Plan for responding to HIV and AIDS.

Over the past year the project has reached nearly two million people, enabling them to access and utilize existing services provided by government departments, civil society organisations, health workers, international development agencies and communities themselves. More than 400,000 people received psychosocial support, representing 38.5% of the Universal Access target.

In Kisoro district, the project has contributed to a higher uptake of HIV counselling and testing services, and prevention-of-mother-to-child transmission services provided in the public sector, as highlighted by an evaluation soon to be published.