Untrained Health Volunteers Messing Up Home Based HIV Treatment

1981 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Geoffrey Mugabe, researcher with the district health department says the volunteers were supposed to undergo one year training on HIV/AIDs treatment, but were trained for only two months.

The use of untrained volunteers is threatening the Home-based HIV treatment program in Kabarole district. In 2010, Kabarole district started the home based HIV treatment program due to the difficulties faced by People Living with HIV/AIDs in rural areas to access anti-retroviral treatment at health centers.

Under the programme, more than 80 health volunteers were recruited visit the sick at home and deliver medication such as anti-retroviral drugs, support them in adhering to their drugs, collect blood samples and refer those with symptoms to the nearest clinics. However in a report released by the District health department, the use of untrained volunteers   is affecting the progress of the treatment, which has been hailed as the best option for people living HIV/ Aids in remote, rural areas.

According to the report some of the volunteers lack adequate training or no training at all on provision of HIV/AIDS treatment to ensure that the needs of the sick are met. Geoffrey Mugabe, researcher with the district health department says the volunteers were supposed to undergo one year training on HIV/AIDs treatment, but were trained for only two months. Mugabe also says that it was found out that there is lack of communication between the families and home-based care groups and some visits were irregular and occasionally stopped without notice.

He also says that some volunteers had abandoned their work and left the sick under the care of family members and friends, who have no idea of treating HIV/AIDS patients.

 //Cue in: “they are giving lip services…”//

Cue out: “…some of the volunteers stopped.”//

Nathan Mugume, who is living with HIV in Rwimi town council says that for three months the volunteers didn’t visit his home and yet he was supposed to start Anti-retroviral treatment. He says that he was forced to seek treatment from Fort Referral hospital, but the transport costs are high.

//Cue in: “for three months…

Cue out: “…spending on transport.”//

Patricia Businge, the chairperson of the National Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (NACWOLA), Fort Portal branch says patients preferred to be treated at home rather than go to health facilities due to stigma and it often eased the burden on the over-stretched local health centres. She wants the volunteers to undergo more training,if they are to provide adequate treatment.

In 2013, a study conducted by the Ministry of Health and published in the UK medical journal, The Lancet, found that home-based ARV therapy could be the best option for HIV-infected people living in remote, rural areas. According to The Aids Support Organization (TASO) 14 percent of the 206,000 Ugandans on ARV therapy were already receiving their medication through home- or community-based care.

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.