Friday, March 3, 2017

Building on success of HIV program

By Kelly Child, UVP Managing Director

For the first time in months, I see faces I haven't seen. Elizabeth, the nurse in charge, and her barely-walking
daughter; Busoga Christopher, a vibrant Village Health Team (VHT) member who offers me lunch upon my arrival; the ever-smiling, HIV positive actor from the drama group gives me a boisterous hug when she sees me. Though I haven't been here for months, I'm welcomed like I'm family.

As the Managing Director, I don't go to the field often; my role at UVP is mostly based in the office. But the warm reception received in the village makes it seem like I'm here all the time.

Following the thorough review of programs we conducted last year, the first quarter of 2017 has been one of implementation and evaluation; a time to see if our ideas for improvement are working or if they need to be reconsidered. Today in Mwedanfuko, it feels like success. We've been engaging our VHTs differently over the past three months, and you can feel their dedication in the smooth-running event, along with the pride in their smiles. Their success is tangible with the multitude of people that arrive before noon (a rarity, as most people are working in their field, especially at the beginning of rainy season).  Due to the increase in early attendance, we were able to serve 61 more people than during the last outreach.

Titus, our passionate HIV and Malaria Program Coordinator, escorts me through the various points of data entry at the event. We've revised the data collection forms to more accurately capture our efforts and, despite a few misunderstandings, have been implemented successfully. Today's event provided HIV testing to 190 people, malaria testing and treatment to 100 people, and, thanks to our new partnership with Musana Community Health Center, we were able to provide reproductive services including contraceptive distribution and cervical cancer screening to the community of Mwendanfuko.

At UVP, we gauge success by witnessing a community assigning more importance to their health with the passing months. By those standards, today was a success!

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