HIV Care and Nutrition Program (UKUN)

 
$2,420
$15,580
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Dec 25, 2013

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Week 12)

This week was a sad and busy week for me, the girls and our patients. We visited all clients and girls said goodbyes. We also did another trip to Muhimbili Hospital.

Monday and Thursday was spent with Mr Captain with showers and laundry. He also got a new mattress; bigger one and better quality. On Thursday we went to visit Amina and Hamisi Tanga first and girls said goodbyes. After that it was Mr Captain’s turn. After showering him we took him for a walk in his wheelchair. We went with him to visit Hadija and her family who live nearby and girls said goodbyes there. Mr Captain was happy to see Hadija.  Then we took him for a goodbye lunch in a local restaurant. He was very happy but had no appetite to eat much. Girls found it hard to say goodbyes and promised to come back before the end of the year.

Girls spent a lot of time this week with Abdullah. They have created such a special friendship with him now and I am sure Abdullah will also miss them so much. On Wednesday we went to join Abdullah to a HIV children’s group BaoBao, which is run by great local volunteers George and Bernard and they often get other foreign volunteers to work with them. Most of the children were much younger than Abdullah who is 17 years of age and he was not joining in fully. This could have just been due to nerves as the both leaders said. We played ball games and had snacks with them after. This group meets every Wednesday afternoon for few hours and Saturdays for the full day 9am till 5pm. They have activities like games, exercises, life skills, counselling and days at the beach or swimming pool. On Saturday we went with him and the group to swimming pool in a nice hotel and spent the whole day there. Abdullah does not know how to swim and he had so many teachers there. He really enjoyed this day and all the children got ‘chips mayai’ (chips- omelette) to eat and were so happy!

On Wednesday there was a meeting here at UKUN with local home- care volunteers, which Charles attended.  We had organized them to come here with their supervisor. They are not active anymore and most are lacking motivation and supplies. I wanted to take some of the burden away and work together with them. Charles asked for their ‘bed-ridden’ patients but they said all the patients need to be reassessed for their needs before they can give us information. They promised to come back on Friday for another meeting having to have reassessed the patients, however they cancelled it. I will go next week to the hospital to find the supervisor again, mama Kizunga.

On Friday I and Sophie took Sulemani back to Muhimbili Hospital in Dar Es Salaam to get his biopsy results.  Last week they told us they were not ready and asked to come on this day. We left again early at 6.30am with the same driver Ally as last time. Unfortunately we received the same news again that the results were still not ready! I got little angry with the doctors as we had come from really far twice and spent a lot of time and money for the car. One of the doctors then organized to get the results that had to come from a different hospital in Dar. We waited about an hour and then they told me Sulemani has carcinoma (cancer) in situ in his bottom. I was told not to tell the patient yet but come back next week to admit him to the hospital. He will need a surgery or maybe radiotherapy. This was really sad news but at least it was now found and we could start treating it. Doctors think it can be detected early and he will be fine. I have to call back on Monday to get the date to go there.

On Sunday we had a leaving meal with Charles and Abdullah and the girls in town. We followed this with ice cream bar for deserts! I hope Mathilde and Sophie will be back soon, it will be extremely difficult to find as wonderful hard- working volunteers as they are!

Next week I will have things to sort out in home visits and I won’t have volunteers with me.  There is also another trip to Muhimbili and meetings with Hannah to look at UKUN’s future plans, structure and funding options.

Dec 25, 2013

Volunteer Diary Week 11

Beginning of this week I was in Dar to pay the rent. Poor Sofie got sick so I and Mathilde continued with the home visits. Tuesday morning I met our new landlord and paid the rent for UKUN for six months as it was agreed. We got one month free due to our renovation work. Unfortunately I only received a receipt as the landlord Omari did not have contract for us. I asked him to provide me one, which I will pick up on my next visit to Dar.

Whilst in Dar Sophie got sick with diarrhoea and Mathilde took Mr Captain to his hospital appointment and showered him alone. He had again had an accident with bowels. Poor Mathilde with her little Kiswahili managed so well at the hospital and had a big job alone to shower him and do his laundry.  Mr Captain had his CD4 checked and will be told results on his next appointment. He was told it is chronic diarrhoea that is very common on patients on ARV medication. We gave him ‘pampers’ but he thought to use it as a toilet so we had to discontinue this! Sophie was better by the end of the week and all the team was back together.

On Wednesday we visited Mariam and bought her more juice, gloves and disinfectant. She also needed more Septrin, which I asked Charles to take there. Mariam appeared fine. After that we visited Amina for physiotherapy who is doing well and Mr Captain who had had no diarrhoea that day! 

On Thursday we went to Muhimbili once again with Hamisi to get his fit status for surgery and Sulemani to get his biopsy results. This time it was me, Mathilde and a local friend Omari to come as a translator. We found a new driver Ally who is also works at the Bagamoyo Hospital. This time the trip was not too long; we left to Dar at 6.30am and came back to Bagamoyo before sunset time. Sulemani was seen first and he only got told that his results were not ready and that he should return next week Friday, not good! Hamisi got really good news; he was told that he was fit for the surgery (double mastectomy). Not only that, he got a date for his surgery and only just over two months wait. He needs to be admitted to Muhimbili on 6th of August 2013 and they will operate on the 9th. Hamisi and we were so happy. On our way back home we bought lunch for everyone; rice, ugali, fish and beans.  We booked Ally for the next week’s trip to Muhimbili with Sulemani and he only wants to charge us the petrol money and nothing extra so we have another volunteer now!

Abdullah finally got his injections for TB from Bagamoyo Hospital. He needs to have still half of the injections from the total of 56. There was a three week gap, which is not good for the adherence and resistance.

We continued writing weekly reports and wrote separate reports of the Muhimbili trips and the office opening party. It is hard to sit in front of the laptop for hours in this heat but we go to do our work in Poa Poa restaurant, which has good fans and serves lovely iced coffee!

Next week is the final week of the musketeers Sophie and Mathilde so we have a lot of organizing to do. 

Oct 7, 2013

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Week 10)

This week was busy with organizing opening party for Wednesday and several visits to Mr Captain.

Charles had gone to the villages around Bagamoyo with people who had come to audit and assess UKUN’s previous projects. I and the girls together with local volunteer Ally organized opening party for Wednesday.  We also had so many of our friends (local guys/volunteers) to help us with the preparation; gardening, cleaning, decoration and entertainment, which was music with drums and guitar. We had refreshments and snacks and free condoms. We had at least 20 local people (outsiders) to visit plus all friends and friends of friend's as well as our client Hadija our client. Ally took charge of the party and did the opening speech. After this we had questions and answer time with locals and it was also a great success. It was better to have someone local to do it in Kiswahili to reach to all the locals. Abdullah got to do the ceremony of cutting the robe.  We finished sunset time and had a celebration beer with all the volunteers after in a local bar.

Unfortunately Mr Captain suffered from diarrhoea half of the week so we ended up showering him five times and doing his saturated laundry. It was hard work with the girls and Mr Captain felt so ashamed. He got some medication and it got resolved by the end of the week.

We visited Amina to do some physiotherapy and she is doing great.

We are planning to find a local nurse to take charge of the home care whilst I am not here in July and August.  We could not get hold of the numbers we were given by Tarek and plan to visit the hospital for this next week. We have a volunteer coming from CCS (Cross Cultural Solutions) beginning of next month for three weeks and another one called William, who is coming end of June for six weeks. Our Facebook page ‘Every Little Helps’ is a great success. We have 150 likes now and more sponsor money coming in for the patients. We keep putting pictures and updates up of our daily work. The girls are really good with the camera!

Mariam had her appointment on Monday but I did not take her as there were no changes with her condition and she appeared fine. Her blood pressure was good, 115/80. I and her daughter went to collect more ARVs from the hospital for her and the doctor asked us to bring the patient next month 05.06.2013 to be reviewed.

Next week I will go to Dar to pay the rent for six months for the new office.  Tarek has received sponsor money for this from America.

Oct 7, 2013

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Week 9)

Week 9 was busy again with home visits and another trip to Muhimbili Hospital with Hamisi. Girls did some final touches to the new office and the opening party was set for next week Wednesday. We did posters and put them up at the weekend around Bagamoyo town.

Abdallah appears a changed boy already. The girls gave him coloring pens and paper and he is drawing every day at the office. He draws pictures of himself working and as a big strong man and he says it is him next year! He is still thin but he is slowly building around his waist. We will weigh him soon. He looks much happier and smiles a lot. My sister is donating him 15 euros per month for his food. However unfortunately the hospital still does not have his injections and keep saying ‘come tomorrow’. We have started a food diary on him, which is kept in the office where he writes all the meals he has and snacks.

Tarek informed us that we have a volunteer coming in the summer called William from the US. I feel very happy about that and I will overlap with him at least few days before I go to Zanzibar.

We had a great but really long trip to Dar to Muhimbili Hospital this week.  We left in the morning 6am. We saw the surgical consultant with Hamisi. He explained that all his problems are due to the side- effects to his medications 'Atripla' the second line ARV treatment. He has breast enlargement, tremor and weakness of arms and legs now. It was all noted at 2008 and stopped. Then his CD4 dropped and he was started on them again and the Dr explained that there was no 3rd line treatment so it was a must to continue this. Now his CD4 hadn't been done for a long time and they said if it was high he could maybe stop this drug.

 Hamisi said he was more than ready for the surgery, which would be double mastectomy (removal of both breasts). He will lose one breast totally and on the smaller one they can safe his nipple. Next he had CD4 and haemoglobin checked. Those results will be ready by his next appointment and will determine if he will be fit for this surgery.  After that he had X-ray done. Unfortunately they lost his X-ray request card and we waited there over three hours! By the time we got the pictures the doctor he had gone home. They gave Hamisi a new appointment to go back in two weeks time 16/5. Debbie has offered to sponsor again for the car, which is fantastic news. If he is fit for the surgery he will go on waiting list in Muhimbili. It will be only for the cosmetic purposes they said. As he has no cancer (which is good!) he will has to wait longer of course and he said maybe more than 3 months. The surgery is free. If it is done private he can get it within a week and it costs anything between 1.5-4.5 million shillings. It will be good to put him on a waiting list and while we are waiting we can try to raise the money for the private surgery. 

 We had a new lock fitted to the office because there wasn’t one. This cost 50 000Tsh and was taken from my sponsor money. Girls moved all the furniture to the new office with the help from Abdallah and Charles. The office looks fantastic, we are so proud of ourselves!

We showered Mr Captain three times this week and visited Amina three times for physio. Now Amina is able to get up independently without help from anyone; great progress. She is so motivated and happy for our visits. Next week we will finally have the office opening party and volunteer Hannah arrives, who has a vast experience of running projects in Uganda previously. I am hoping she will help us to sort out UKUN’s financial situation and structure.

 Week 9 was busy again with home visits and another trip to Muhimbili Hospital with Hamisi. Girls did some final touches to the new office and the opening party was set for next week Wednesday. We did posters and put them up at the weekend around Bagamoyo town.

Abdallah appears a changed boy already. The girls gave him coloring pens and paper and he is drawing every day at the office. He draws pictures of himself working and as a big strong man and he says it is him next year! He is still thin but he is slowly building around his waist. We will weigh him soon. He looks much happier and smiles a lot. My sister is donating him 15 euros per month for his food. However unfortunately the hospital still does not have his injections and keep saying ‘come tomorrow’. We have started a food diary on him, which is kept in the office where he writes all the meals he has and snacks.

Tarek informed us that we have a volunteer coming in the summer called William from the US. I feel very happy about that and I will overlap with him at least few days before I go to Zanzibar.

We had a great but really long trip to Dar to Muhimbili Hospital this week.  We left in the morning 6am. We saw the surgical consultant with Hamisi. He explained that all his problems are due to the side- effects to his medications 'Atripla' the second line ARV treatment. He has breast enlargement, tremor and weakness of arms and legs now. It was all noted at 2008 and stopped. Then his CD4 dropped and he was started on them again and the Dr explained that there was no 3rd line treatment so it was a must to continue this. Now his CD4 hadn't been done for a long time and they said if it was high he could maybe stop this drug.

 Hamisi said he was more than ready for the surgery, which would be double mastectomy (removal of both breasts). He will lose one breast totally and on the smaller one they can safe his nipple. Next he had CD4 and haemoglobin checked. Those results will be ready by his next appointment and will determine if he will be fit for this surgery.  After that he had X-ray done. Unfortunately they lost his X-ray request card and we waited there over three hours! By the time we got the pictures the doctor he had gone home. They gave Hamisi a new appointment to go back in two weeks time 16/5. Debbie has offered to sponsor again for the car, which is fantastic news. If he is fit for the surgery he will go on waiting list in Muhimbili. It will be only for the cosmetic purposes they said. As he has no cancer (which is good!) he will has to wait longer of course and he said maybe more than 3 months. The surgery is free. If it is done private he can get it within a week and it costs anything between 1.5-4.5 million shillings. It will be good to put him on a waiting list and while we are waiting we can try to raise the money for the private surgery. 

 We had a new lock fitted to the office because there wasn’t one. This cost 50 000Tsh ($30USD) and was taken from my sponsor money. Girls moved all the furniture to the new office with the help from Abdallah and Charles. The office looks fantastic, we are so proud of ourselves!

We showered Mr Captain three times this week and visited Amina three times for physio. Now Amina is able to get up independently without help from anyone; great progress. She is so motivated and happy for our visits. Next week we will finally have the office opening party and volunteer Hannah arrives, who has a vast experience of running projects in Uganda previously. I am hoping she will help us to sort out UKUN’s financial situation and structure.

Oct 7, 2013

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Weeks 7 & 8)

This week we continued the office renovation and had it all finished by the end of the week. We also did three visits to Mr Captain, one to Mariam and started physiotherapy with Hamisi’s sister Amina. Afternoons we spent doing office work and we created Facebook page for our home-care.

After four layers of paint we were finally done with the painting and fitted plastic floors/carpets on Friday.  It had all got a bit expensive due to choosing a water paint instead of an oil paint (call us professionals!) but the result was amazing and we were so proud of ourselves with Sophie and Mathilde.  The total cost was $115 and was taken from my marathon sponsor money. Now we can start to plan the opening party!

Afternoons we did office work all week. We sorted out the files to active clients and lost follow ups. We did basic profiles of our active clients with pictures so that Tarek can put them on Global Giving website to get sponsors for us. We did Facebook page together with the girls called 'Every Little Helps', which we will share to all our family and friends. In there we have put specific costs for things we are spending for clients. My sponsor money will be soon finished so we thought to get something quickly instead of applying for grants that takes long time, which can do that once the office is running properly. We were really successful with ‘Every Little Helps’ and sponsor money is already coming in! The girls are really good photographers and the patient profiles look great.

 Mr Captain was taken to the hospital for his monthly appointment on Monday by Charles and received his ARVs. We showered him three times this week with the girls and we have a great routine now for his visits. We work great together as the ‘three musketeers’ (we like to call ourselves!) with Slophie and Mathilde. It such a nice thing to have those girls here with me, I could not have done without them, they have worked so hard. At the end of the week we discovered that Captain had developed fungus on his testicles (inspite of frequent showers!) and we gave him antifungal cream to apply several times a day and lots of gloves. He is in a lot of pain with it poor man.

I went to visit Maria Philipo on Thursday. She is the last stage of AIDS. I got really emotional because she looks so much better and was smiling a lot. When I first visited her she was in a bad stage. She hadn't been to the hospital in 15 months and was not taking ARVs. Now she has had two visits, been on medication for a month, her blood pressure is up from 80/70 to 110/90! Also all the small cuts all around her body are almost cleared. That really made my day and gave me so much motivation to carry on here. The daughters are also happy. Her CD4 is now 148. It had not been done for almost two years. She smiles now when I go there as she knows me now. I took Mathilde there with me and she took great pictures of the family to our FB page. We also bought her Mango juice to take her medication with. 

 We got introduced to Amina; Hamisi’s sister who is also HIV positive and lives in Bagamoyo town in the same household with him. She has two children who are not HIV positive and two of her other children have passed away.  She has reduced mobility now (she says this due to some malaria medication she took in the past) and has started to walk with a zimmer frame to get mobile again. She wants us to visit her for her walks few days a week to monitor her progress and motivate her! We feel that she is already really motivated and are happy to help her.

Next week I will be away in Zanzibar and the girls will take care of Mr Captain’s showers and Amina’ s visits. We also have a new local volunteer Ali, who wants to do some counselling with our clients. He has just qualified as a counsellor and he promised to do some home visits next week too while I am gone.  He will be great asset to us as he speaks fluent Kiswahili. I gave Mr Captain and Abdullah both a big bag of food and snacks before I left. It is I will be back on Monday 29.04.

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Map of HIV Care and Nutrition Program (UKUN)