Uganda is at the heart of the sub-saharan HIV/AIDS pandemic. An estimated 25.4 million people are living with HIV and approximately 3.1 million new infections occurred in 2004. In 2004, an estimated 2.3 million people lost their lives to the disease.
Uganda is home to more than 1 million AIDS orphans. Widowed mothers and elderly widowed grandmothers are the predominant heads of households. (www.unaids.org)
HIV/AIDS results in a progressive depletion of the immune system leading to immune deficiency. The weakened immune system is vulnerable to secondary diseases. Access to medical care is nonexistent for many Ugandans where almost half the population lives in absolute poverty. (www.unicef.org)
AOET Rural Health Initiative
AOET operates a clinic and pharmacy at the main offices in Jinja. With nurses, Doctor, clinical Officer, Counsellors … Treatment, HIV screening and counseling … is available at the clinic and pharmacy.
Rural areas are severely lacking in services and HIV/AIDS awareness. Nearly every family in the rural villages has had someone who is sick or has died from AIDS.
AOET operates mobile clinics to provide services in 63 different villages. With the mobile clinics, AOET provides treatment, counseling, and provides home-based care for people suffering with HIV/AIDS.
AOET conducts rural HIV/AIDS awareness programs in the villages explaining what the disease is, dispelling myths, and teaching safe conduct.
Awareness programs are provided at the community level, to schools and institutions, and at the personal level with individual counseling and home visits. Music and dramas by people living with HIV/AIDS and educational films are used.
AOET recruits and trains community-based representatives to continue the work in the villages. The local person continues the educational outreach. They follow-up with counseling and needs to those who HIV screenings return positive. They provide medical and counseling assistance to those with AIDS in their homes. AOET Community–based representatives train relatives and friends in home-based care for those in the late stages of AIDS to administer the type of care such patients require.