Kampala Uganda: Challenges In Providing Targeted Care To Key Populations in Uganda
Providing HIV-related care and prevention services needs all the support from the funding community. It should not be selective but should go both ways. In Uganda, funding has tended to go toward strategic litigation and not strategic holistic health /mental health.
Organizations like Most At Risk Population’s Society in Uganda ( MARPS in Uganda) have had to make do with handouts from the founders and friends yet we we deal with cases that other organizations do not. We have trained or qualified staff to assess, manage, refer, provide the right counselling and guidance plus sacrificing money to support attendant recurrent expenses. This means managing scabies, rashes, headaches, grief after death, dysphoria related depression, evictions, or treatment for bruises and post trauma care. We have been there for the sex-workers, LGBTIQQ and people living with HIV in Uganda. We do not go out on streets to tell people about our work or advertise our work. At MARPS in Uganda, the issues of confidentiality are jealousy guarded.
The money we collect has gone into paying transport expenses for those who needed to attend clinics for refills, medical check up or medication refills. This kind of money also helped keep up internet connections as well as paying for such needs like housing and food support.
Having this kind of money has helped us provide targeted management, care and treatment for cases that needed a specialized approach. Between 2013-2017, we have been able to link cases to special clinics where they could get much needed management and care. Some of the identified cases ranged from scabies, adverse drug effects, sensitivities, side effects, prescriptions for 2nd line ART and other management issues.
Working with the sex-workers, LGBTIQQ and people living with HIV in Uganda has its downsides and upsides. It is our hope that those in the litigation or civil rights advocacy areas do not get in the way of those who are doing holistic health and mental health care. In Uganda, we see lawyers branching out in HIV fields (which is not bad) but they get in the way of medical persons. In Uganda, we have seen HIV prevention impostors who go on to hoodwink funders and hoard all funds to themselves while denying networking with the right funding support. This in turn affects critical care targeting LGBTIQQ, sex-workers and People living with HIV.
In the pictures you will see what we have been managing as far as holistic health and mental health care goes. We appeal to funders to provide funding to our organization as well. We do not distribute condoms or lubricants because that is done all other organizations. Ours is biomedical management targeting LGBTIQQ, sex-workers and People living with HIV. We are compiling reports about our work. We hope to share them soon.