IDI Hands Over Renovated ART Clinic Facilities in the West Nile Region
Last week, the Health System Strengthening programme handed over two ART facilities to the leadership of Pakwach and Madi Okollo districts. Dr Twaha Mahaba, the project manager for the West Nile Regional Project represented IDI at the handed over facilities at of Alwi Health Centre III in Pakwach district and Okollo Health Centre III in Madi Okollo district to the respective district leaders. Facility renovations are done in order to extend comprehensive service delivery closer to the people countrywide.
With many patients currently facing stigma or the fear of it due to the open waiting areas, a number of patients fail to come back to the health centres for care and treatment, according to Dr Twaha. In turn, this has caused a reduction in patient retention at the antiretroviral (ART) clinic. The health centres also had small service rooms which could not comfortably accommodate the patients and provide a conducive working environment for the health workers.
The renovated facilities have been developed to address confidentiality for the patients and provide ample space for the range of comprehensive services expected by the patients. Hereon, the facilities will be able to provide services such as counselling, laboratory services, exclusive patient records management and a pharmacy for drugs. The facilities now have well-spaced and aerated waiting areas and this will reduce the risk of patients contracting diseases like TB.
“We have been losing people silently to HIV. However, there are also people who have lived with HIV for many years. This is a good opportunity to improve health in the area and to also reach out to the community. This will attract big numbers to come for care and treatment,” Onito Robert Stin, the Chairman LC5 Pakwach Onito, said.
He commended the IDI team in the region coordinated by Dr Justus Bwogi, the IDI Field Office Coordinator, for working tirelessly to deliver services to the people in the Alwi community.
Alwi Health Centre III provides care and support to 210 active patients and Okollo health centre provides care and support to 311 active patients.
As an area with a fast-growing population, demand for healthcare services in Madi Okollo has increased. Okollo Health Centre III provides care to 311 active patients out of a total of 579 patients that have enrolled for care at the centre.
“The Government of Uganda has a mission of ending HIV as a major public threat to the public by 2030. IDI has worked well in supporting the government’s vision,” Toko Shuaib, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Pakwach said. Alice Akello Opio, the RDC of Madi Okollo district also commended IDI for the vast work done in the different districts across the country.
The West Nile region has a prevalence of 3.1% compared to the national prevalence at 5.7%, a very significant percentage. IDI has worked with leadership on 31 facilities across the country in an effort to reach to all regions of the country and provide diversified HIV care. The renovated facilities will help in extending services closer to the people who would otherwise be required to move longer distances to access care in the next available towns.
By Rebecca Nakitandwe
Photography by Abubaker Kazibwe