East Africa Aid Foundation

Our mission is to provide an opportunity, a helping hand, for those who have little-to-none to live by and learn with. We are a not-for-profit organization founded to assist with the collection of charitable donations from interested parties, multinational corporations, and healthcare organizations to fund educational & healthcare projects in multiple locations in the East Africa region.
May 13, 2013

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Week one)

Micu at UKUN
Micu at UKUN

My first week at volunteering at UKUN project, I gained an insight what it is all about and the challenges that lie ahead of me. (March 2013)

UKUN (Uhakika Kituo cha Ushauri Nasaha) is a non-governmental, non-political & non-profit organization based in Bagamoyo district in the coastal region of Tanzania. The mission of UKUN is to contribute to the primary prevention of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Bagamoyo town; to support palliative care services for people living with HIV/AIDS and to improve the quality of life for the district’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)’ (UKUN Website 2013).

 There are 97 villages around Bagamoyo district that UKUN has been concentrating its projects on. I was told that one of the big challenges to UKUN is how to access them all cost efficiently.

 Having visited Bagamoyo town many times before I can to know many people who have volunteered at UKUN and helped with their field work. Debbie Fair Ellis, and Tarek El Shayal (of the East Africa Aid Foundation) are couple out of many that have helped prepare me for my volunteering task.  I am a nurse from my profession and want to be part of the Home- Based Care programme to improve the quality of life for people living with HIV. I also hope to educate and raise awareness to the people in Bagamoyo about HIV, TB and malaria prevention.

Prior to my travels I started a fundraising campaign where I collected sponsor money from UK and Finland and will donate $500 in total to UKUN. This money will be used to help this project from its financial crisis and anything that is needed for the patients.

UKUN will be changing its name to People’s Health Initiatives (PHI) because it is helping in other areas now including prevention of Malaria and other diseases. In the past UKUN had plenty of donors and was running various projects. Also Cross Cultural Solutions (volunteer organisation) was sending volunteers regularly to work in UKUN. Now almost all donors have gone, having moved into other things, and there has been a rapid decrease in available finance. Now there are no projects running, all paid staff have left and Cross Cultural Solutions are having a ‘dry season’ with no available volunteers. As a consequence of that they have stopped their Bagamoyo programme completely. Not having enough volunteers does not help any of the projects in the community.

 That is not all; one of UKUN’s key volunteers sadly died. He was a local man who was mainly doing home care for the severely ill HIV patients. He was also running a football club for children, was a translator for foreign volunteers and was involved in local politics. He was very much loved and respected and Charles is grieving for him too.

 This first week was spent with Charles around orientating me to UKUN and writing a grant proposal..  He told me about the past, current and future possibilities for UKUN. We also visited Bagamoyo District Hospital, where he introduced me to all ‘important’ staff. 

 UKUN clinic does rapid HIV testing with counselling that is free to anyone. Charles does this. There is only Charles there at the moment (and me) and Samira comes to clean in the mornings and deals also with small errands. We have to report monthly to Bagamoyo Hospital HIV centre (CTC) of how many people were tested (age, gender, HIV status) and how many were positive. Last month (Feb 2013) eighty people came to the UKUN clinic for the test and 4 of those were found HIV positive. If the person has a positive result they will be referred to CTC Bagamoyo Hospital to take a sample of blood and send it to the lab for kidney and liver function and CD4 count. That result will determine whether the patient will start ARVs (Antiretroviral Therapy). The recommendation is to start treatment if person’s CD4 is below the 350 count.

 If it has been decided that the patient will go on ARV therapy he needs to arrive with a supporter to pick up his medication from the CTC. A supporter is usually any family member or otherwise close person to the patient. The supporter will be helping the patient with adherence to the therapy e.g. by giving reminders. Adherence to ARV therapy is vital for it to work and no adherence can have worse consequences than not taking the therapy at all. Patients have monthly appointment to be seen in CTC by a Doctor.   

 We finished writing a proposal for the grant for ‘Positive Action for Children Fund’, which has a deadline next week Tuesday. I was actually learning to write one as this was my first one ever but we managed to send it off on time. So my days were mainly spent in the office working 10-12 hour days!

Next week I will visit the home care clients as they are the main work I planned to come here to do!

I am looking forward to be working with UKUN in the upcoming weeks.

UKUN-HQs
UKUN-HQs
Apr 1, 2013

The Story of Abdullah

The story of Abdullah: Accounts of a working nurse

Abdullah comes every day actually spends most his days in our clinic. He was born with HIV and is 17 yrs now.

He doesn’t get food at home so we buy him what we can. He is very underweight! His parents died and his grandmother now and now he stays with his auntie but apparently she doesn't give food, says there s no space for him in the house and tried once to poison him!

There is big stigma there too! Abdullah is a very clever boy. We want to help him by giving him money (from our collected sponsor money) to start a small business. He used to share a business with a friend in the past so he has experience in this type of work. He wants to sell some food stuff in his street like ugali flour, sugar etc. He says that's where the good money is! We are going to find out now the costs from the wholesale.

He seemed very happy with this kind of support.

Sadly he has contracted TB since last weekend and we are going to hospital with him tomorrow to be trained to give injections to him daily for 54 for days so that way he doesn't need to go to hospital every day.

I have never given him money sometimes a small snack but his housing situation is also a disaster. He doesn't want me to have a meeting with his auntie and the chief of the street (as the procedure would be) because it will cause more conflict. We respect his wishes but again where is the way out? Just wait for him to get better first, but he already looked better today :-)

Maybe the small business could be a start to a better future. You should have seen how his face lit up!

Oct 5, 2012

Fight for Life Campaign

Volunteer Emily with one of UKUN
Volunteer Emily with one of UKUN's Clients

We have launched the Fight for Life Campaign to raise funds for UKUN Center. The goal of the campaign is to raise enough funds to help UKUN sustain its operations and be able to provide the intended impact to its clients within the community.

We are posting a video link to the campaign which details the problem, the steps take towards the solution and how everyone would be able to help.

Please visit us at the URL below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp2ex7waQTs

So far the campaign has been successful in raising enough funds to help the center pay towards its basic needs of rent, electricity, water, etc. but lots more remain to be fulfilled.

Progress for the quarter is as follows:

 a-      Receipt of a charitable donation of blood microscope from NHS system, UK

b-      Receipt of medical supplies donation from various volunteer entities

c-       Complete summer volunteer program with partner volunteer company CCS

d-      Secure funds for project CURE Kits to be sent to Bagamoyo, Tanzania

e-      Enroll with Healthcare Volunteer entity and advertise for volunteer placement

Charles working with one of center
Charles working with one of center's clients
Charles with Client PT Session
Charles with Client PT Session

Links:

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