HIV Care and Nutrition Program (UKUN)

 
$2,680
$15,320
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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.

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.

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.

My sixth week at UKUN was really busy with trip to Muhimbili Hospital, painting the office and Mariam’s hospital appointment as well as Captain’s showers and laundry.

On Monday we went to Muhimbili Hospital to Dar Es Salaam with three of our clients; Hamisi, Hadija and Sulemani. Charles organized a car and also drove half of the trip! We left at 06.30am and arrived to Dar Es Salaam 09.30AM. First I was dropped at CCTRB Hospital (Eye specialist hospital in Dar Es Salaam) with Hadija and her grandmother who had come with us to escort her too.  Then Charles drove to Muhimbili Hospital with Hamisi and Sulemani.

 First half of the day in Muhimbili was spent looking for his file and once they finally found it he was only given a new appointment to come back next month! We paid a lot of money (Debbie from UK sponsored it) for the car and it took two hours there and another two hours to get back and the patient were not even seen! Now we will have to find funding again for the second trip. Another patient Sulemani went there to be seen by surgical doctors as he is suffering from haemorrhoids that have grown very large. His trip was successful as he ended up being admitted for surgery so we left him there to Muhimbili. He has some family around Dar Es Salaam who will visit him and we informed his wife that he was admitted.

I went to CCTRB with Hadija, our blind lady. They told her she will never see again and there was nothing they could do as it had gone too far. She will have to come to terms with being a blind rest of her life. It was really sad. She has already been blind few yrs due to some pressure in her head. Perhaps it could be tumour but they said it was too late and no point to do a scan for her head, her sight was irreversible. Hadija was still smiling and her happy self as always. Her grandmother seemed more upset.  She does everything in the house so I want to give her lots of support in the house. I think she is scared what will happen to the rest of the family if something happens to her. I think she can live a long life if she keeps healthy like she has done!  We arrived back in Bagamoyo after sunset and dropped all patients back to their houses (except Sulemani who was admitted).

The rest of the week Tuesday till Friday we were cleaning and painting the new office with Mathilde and Sophia. We kept painting layers of white (on the top of the old blue) but it just never seemed to be covered! It looks better though and next week we will continue our hard, messy but fun work! We had some local boys to volunteers with the painting so we bought them a beer afterwoods at the local bar next to the office to say thank you!

Wednesday I took Mariam to Bagamoyo Hospital to have her CD4 checked. We picked her up with ‘TucTuc’ and one of her daughters came with us. It was all done in two hours and we took her home. Mariam seemed little uncomfortable on the trip back and when we arrived we noticed that she had had an accident and had her bowels open in the seat. We cleaned it and she was taken to shower at home. She was given ARVs enough to last her a month and I bought he mango juice to take them with.  I need to pick up her CD4 results in few days time.

Captain had two showers this week and was happy. I started funding Abdullah’s meals from sponsor money and need tlo sort some kind of system for this. He has already put on few kilos! Next week will be busy again finishing the painting and fitting new floors to the office.

Inside UKUN Office
Inside UKUN Office

My fifth week was spent with moving to our new office and visits to Mariam and Mr Captain. I also got to know about one of UKUN’s long term client Mr Hamisi Tanga and his sister.

I arrived back from Dar Es Salaam on Tuesday as I spent Easter there (Sun /Mon). We moved to the new office on Wednesday. We hired removal van and Abdullah was also helping us and Charles really enjoyed the exercise! After two trips we were done. We had to put all the furniture to the second room of the building as the room we have rented needs cleaning and painting before we can move in. I can use some of my sponsor money for the paints and we can do it with my two new volunteer friends Mathilde and Sofie as they have experience of painting. They have decided to work with me and I could not be happier about that! We are planning to work on the new office from Monday next week.

Mariam had her appointment date for hospital for Friday but we did not take her as the CD4 machine is not working and that what she needed to have done. I will take her next week (if it is back on working!). I picked up more medications for her (ARVs) and for Abdullah.

Charles and previous volunteer Debbie told me about Mr Hamisi Tanga who has been UKUN’s client over 10 years now. He has been suffering from gynaecomastia (male breast enlargements) since 2008. I was told that it could be a side-effect from one of his ARV medication. He needs to go to Muhimbili hospital in Dar Es salaam to see specialist as this problem has become unbearable to him. I was told he used to go to Muhimbili regularly but due to lack of money he had stopped going and now he came to the office and showed Charles that the breast have grown even larger. He is too sick to use local transport and will need a taxi as a transport. At Muhimbili they need to find out which medications are causing this. Charles said he will need several visits, approximately one per month but does not know how long for. I could use my sponsor money to take him but the transport is not cheap (around £40 per trip) and if this will be on-going thing we will need more sponsors.

I visited Hadija and her family asI was supposed to be escorting her to CCTRB hospital in Dar to see eye specialist. However they told me they could not get the car now.

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Map of HIV Care and Nutrition Program (UKUN)