Thursday, July 30, 2015

Nabirere A: A successful HIV Outreach Day


        This past Wednesday we held our HIV Outreach day in collaboration with St. Mary’s Hospital. While we focused primarily on HIV, there was also de-worming and immunizations for children as well as malaria tests and treatment available for anyone. During these events, UVP provides testing and counseling along with skits performed by a drama group and a sensitization given by our team, The day started slow, “village time” struck again, and the vaccines, de-worming pills and condoms were not available initially. However, everything eventually settled into place and the day picked up when testing began.

            The highlight of the day came in the afternoon when we mobilized with drama group. To drum up extra excitement, we loaded into the back of their pickup truck and danced and chanted, “Nabirere A, awo kumusigiticet!” or “Nabirere A, go to the mosque!” We quickly amassed a small army of children who followed us to the mosque for the skits. The drama group began with traditional dancing and songs about HIV. Some of our team members were pulled into the dance circle, and even though our hip shaking abilities paled in comparison to the drama dancers, the community seemed to really enjoy us and several people have told us they are looking forward to our next show. As much as they liked the dancing, the drama group really captured the crowd’s attention. Despite the “heavy” nature of the topic, the drama group had the crowd laughing a lot. The drunken fool character seemed to be a particular crowd favorite.

            Our team’s sensitization was the last act of the day. We went over the basics; what is HIV, how it is transmitted, signs and symptoms, prevention methods, how to live positively if you’re HIV positive, and a Q&A session. The community asked a lot of good questions, mostly about the routes of transmission. For example, could bed bugs infect people or how long the virus could survive outside the body? Overall, out team really enjoyed the day and we think it was a great success; we tested 148 people for HIV and many others for malaria. We hope the community learned something from the day and our sensitization, but we will be holding other sensitization sessions in the upcoming weeks to reinforce the key messages about HIV.

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