Enable Holistic HIV Care to over 13,000 Ugandans

by Alive Medical Services
Enable Holistic HIV Care to over 13,000 Ugandans
Enable Holistic HIV Care to over 13,000 Ugandans
Enable Holistic HIV Care to over 13,000 Ugandans
Enable Holistic HIV Care to over 13,000 Ugandans
Enable Holistic HIV Care to over 13,000 Ugandans
Enable Holistic HIV Care to over 13,000 Ugandans
Enable Holistic HIV Care to over 13,000 Ugandans
Enable Holistic HIV Care to over 13,000 Ugandans

Three years ago, Betty became dangerously sick. A rash covered her arms and legs, and a fever and staggering pain made it impossible to leave the house. Her husband had died just a year before from HIV – but fearing the stigma that accompanies such a diagnosis, Betty refused to believe she had contracted the virus. 

“I kept telling my uncle: I’m fine. I’m fine,” Betty said. “I didn’t want to go to the hospital, because I heard they treat you terribly there. And I didn’t want anyone to see me, because they would think of me in a different way.”

Betty’s refusal to see a doctor led to a steep decline in her health. Fearing that she was HIV-positive, Betty's uncle told her about Alive Medical Services (AMS), assuring his niece that it was close to home, confidential, and offered quality care. Betty finally agreed to go, and her uncle was right: she was HIV-positive. That day, AMS immediately enrolled Betty in care.

Not too long after her initial visit, Betty stopped showing up at the clinic. AMS community health workers came to Betty’s home to figure out what happened to her, encouraging Betty to return to the clinic and continue taking her anti-retroviral drugs.  

“I cried and cried and cried,” Betty said. “But the counsellors said: don’t cry. You still have life, your children, and a lot to live for.”

With encouragement from the counsellors and nurses, Betty began taking her medication. She started to eat again. And in time, she was recognizable as the person she once was. She now visits AMS regularly for her check-ups, treatment, and counselling – and a few days ago, she attended Caregivers’ Day, an event at the clinic that aimed to help parents and guardians care for their HIV-positive children. 

Nothing AMS does would be possible without the support of partners like you. Your generosity helped us meet our target goal for this project, something we could never have done alone. You've helped our counsellors listen to patients, providing support and guidance for the most desperate situations. You've boosted our clinicians capacity to educate mothers, fathers, and guardians, helping them understand how to better care for their HIV-positive children. And, your you've enabled our clinic to give new life to women like Betty, helping them start over and rebuild after the trauma of diagnosis. While we will continue to raise money for our clinic through separate Global Giving projects, we are so appreciative of your compassion throughout this project's lifespan. Thank you for everything you helped us achieve – we speak for countless clients when we say: we are so grateful for your support.

“Today, I am okay,” Betty said. “I’m feeling strong, and I’m feeling healthy. For AMS, I am very grateful.” 

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Aidah smiling as she waits for her check up
Aidah smiling as she waits for her check up

Last week, UNAIDS reported that for the first time, more than half of all people living with HIV are on treatment. In Uganda, about three out of five HIV-positive individuals are on ARV treatment. By offering comprehensive care that is free-of-charge and available 24/7, Alive Medical Services (AMS) enables anyone seeking HIV testing or treatment in Namuwongo, the most densely populated slum in Kampala, to access quality care. Thank you for the generous support that makes our work possible.

We are proud that over 13,000 individuals trust us with their care. One of them, Aidah, shows how holistic, quality care can change someone’s life.

 --                                                                        

 A mother is nothing without the joy of her children…So when Aidah found out she was HIV-positive in 2008 at the age of thirty-nine, what most saddened her was finding out that her seven-year-old daughter was infected, too.

It was a devastating time for Aidah, as she feared for herself and for her daughter. Thoughts of what would become of her family consumed her. For their sake and her daughter’s sake, she knew she had to get medical assistance.

Aidah went to several hospitals seeking guidance and comfort. Just when she thought all hope was lost, a family friend told her about Alive Medical Services (AMS).

“Since the moment I knotted with AMS, I have never felt the same again!” Aidah exclaims. She says she was welcomed with love, and given hope and encouragement that she and her daughter can live a long and productive life.

Aidah immediately started on treatment and has received continuous care from AMS ever since. Her daughter is now a healthy sixteen-year-old, happy and in school.

Aidah, meanwhile, has been able to go back to fashion and design school, generating income to support her family from what she designs. All this she attributes to the support from AMS.

Her gratitude for the life she is living now has driven Aidah to tell her story of hope—one that you made possible.

We are now only around $10,000 away from reaching our goal for this project, which will help us continue providing care to Aidah, her daughter, and the thousands who rely on us. Will you consider asking a friend today to join the AMS family alongside you, and help us reach our goal?

On behalf of Aidah and all our patients, thank you for your steadfast support and belief in AMS. Together, we can achieve an AIDS-free generation.

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Geoffrey, Mami Kwagala, Linda, Caleb (left-right)
Geoffrey, Mami Kwagala, Linda, Caleb (left-right)

Today, May 1st, is International Workers Day and we would like to take the time to celebrate our health workers who are the backbone to our clinic successes. With just 5 staff members in 2007, AMS has now grown to employ 62 full time staff and 8 volunteers. Here at AMS, we take pride in knowing our expertise span 14 different specialized areas: clinical, nursing, laboratory, pharmacy, stores, counseling, children and youth, monitoring and evaluation, finance, hospitality, administration, sanitation and welfare, security and community relations. To get a better idea of the faces behind AMS, we would like to introduce you to some of our fearless, front line workers

Name: Geoffrey (far left on top photo)

Position: Medical Clinical Officer

Joined staff in: 2011

Q: What made you choose to work at AMS?

A: My passion is serving the community, specifically by preventing diseases, and I knew AMS had that element. I knew that I would be able to reach many people while working here. I have trained 100 peer educators who then go into the community to continue to educate and touch more lives. AMS provides an atmosphere that makes me realize my dreams.

Name: Kwagala “Mami Kwagala” (second to left on top photo)

Joined staff in: 2007

Position: Supervisor of Sanitation and Welfare

Q: What is your favorite thing about your job?

A: I work without pressure. It’s always teamwork here and I love my job. We are a family here at Alive. I love working with people and I love seeing people getting well. And I’ll never forget the day we did a Global Giving Campaign Fundraiser. Everyone came together and there was so much teamwork on that day.

Name: Linda (second to right on top photo)

Joined staff in: 2013

Position: Social Worker

Q: What made you want to work at AMS?

A: I naturally love to work with children and Alive gave me that opportunity. AMS changes people’s lives and I love that. In my job, I get to watch children improve physically, socially, and emotionally. AMS also takes care of their employees and always gives everyone an opportunity to gain and develop skills. AMS believes in us.

Name: Caleb (far right on top photo)

Joined staff in: 2012

Position: Accounts Assistant

Q: What is your most memorable day at AMS?

A: My first birthday celebration! I had never celebrated my birthday before and there I was, as an adult, celebrating my birthday for the first time. Everyone sang and danced…it was great! I even got a gift and cake!

AMS strives to provide ongoing education and lifelong careers for our employees which enables us to continuing growing, developing and providing for clients and families. Every dollar of your support puts our staff members to work, helping them to provide life-saving services to thousands of our clients. On behalf of Geoffrey, Mami Kwagala, Linda, Caleb and the rest of the staff at Alive Medical Services, we want to thank you, our donors, for your ongoing support so that we can continue providing state-of-the-art services to our country’s most in need. Together we shall end AIDS and extreme poverty!

AMS Social Worker, Linda weighs a baby client
AMS Social Worker, Linda weighs a baby client
Geoffrey, AMS Clinician, consults a patient
Geoffrey, AMS Clinician, consults a patient

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Music participants engage in a dancing activity
Music participants engage in a dancing activity

Since the beginning of Alive Medical Services 10 years ago, we at AMS have been committed to providing a complete and holistic HIV care package for every client that walks into our clinic. Our package consists of HIV prevention, care, and treatment through free provision of counseling and testing, medication, maternal and child health services, nutritional and water sanitation support, and psychosocial support through peer support and income-generation groups. Thanks to your help on GlobalGiving, in 2016 we were able to expand our psychosocial services to incorporate music! 

Last year, we began collaborating with Musicians Without Borders (MwB), a group of highly-trained global musicians who use music to inspire, empower communities, and heal the wounds of trauma. Our partnership with MwB began with the facilitation of a community music project to improve viral suppression, HIV status disclosure, ARV adherence, and the mental well-being of AMS’s youth. We currently have 30 youth enrolled in music programming. These 30 youth have completed 20 sessions and upon completion of this program, they will graduate as Community Music Leaders to lead their peers through on-going music sessions. Because of the continued support from you and the rest of the GlobalGiving family, we are able to create these special partnerships that aid our holistic packages for all ages. We have already witnessed a vibrancy in our atmosphere at AMS and are anxiously awaiting the graduation of our 30 Community Music Leaders in May.

         Meet Vivian, one of our Community Music leaders in-training

“I have a supportive mother. She always told me to be brave, but I still worried. Before coming here, I wasn’t normal. I wouldn’t speak to people because of the stigma. I was always paranoid, I felt alone. But then I came to AMS and I met these people. It was different. I got involved with the Victors Club and the Music Program and I started easily making friends. They understood and never judged me. At AMS I have friends who understand and help me. We talk about everything, not just our status. The doctors are so friendly, everyone is. Two years ago I got pregnant and enrolled in Alive's EMTCT [Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission] program. Because of this program, I now have a healthy, HIV negative baby girl. I have a family here. AMS got me from where I was, to where I am now. Now I am in a position to help others as well.” – Vivian

There are many inspiring stories like Vivians’s among the youth at AMS. We are ecstatic to see what our youth will accomplish with their newfound musical skills and empowerment. Thank you for all that you have done to make our 2016 a success. Together, we can make a difference in our youth’s lives!

Vivian, Music Leader & mother to HIV negative girl
Vivian, Music Leader & mother to HIV negative girl
Two youth dance away during Music Sessions
Two youth dance away during Music Sessions

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Organization Information

Alive Medical Services

Location: Kampala - Uganda
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AMSUganda
Project Leader:
Pasquine Ogunsanya
Founder and Executive Director
Kampala, Uganda

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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