HOPE: How Reach Out Mbuya Is Supporting Families Manage HIV Amidst COVID19

A discordant couple, some of the Reach Out Mbuya clients adhering to drugs PHOTO/REACHOUT MBUYA

By Our Reporter

KAMPALA, Uganda-SHIFTMEDIA– It is interesting to note how partners that disclosed their status have been helped during the lockdown. A wonderful case is that of a male client who was locked up in a factory but ended up being helped by his wife to get his drugs refilled.

The wife’s support was obviously a result of transparency in a relationship that begets love and care for each other.
We have observed how important it is for chronic patients to be aware of the type of drugs they are on – in the case of HIV, the regimen.

Thanks to the Ministry of Health guidelines, refills could be accessed from any nearby ARV dispensing facility during the lockdown to enable all not to run out of ARV stocks.

Despite the wife’s willingness to support, she was faced with grueling long distances on foot in the absence of public transport.

But when the wife reached the health facility, she couldn’t get the refill without any idea of what her husbands’ regimen is. Calling the husband who was already locked up in the factory could neither help as he equally was unaware. The facility advised the wife to walk back and try and find an empty tin at home which fortunately she did and trekked back.

Good news she was served but the pain she endured points to the great love and care for the husband. The big question we ask here is what would have happened had the husband not disclosed to her as he had not disclosed to the employer and yet was locked up at work?

All Reach Out Mbuya (ROM) clients are sensitized never to run out of drug stocks and more so during this pandemic.

This has been made possible with the utilization of the ROM Toll-free line. If locked out of ROM, has made drugs accessible through phone chats to clients.

The growing proactiveness of the majority of clients using the toll-free line to call prior to their clinic appointment dates is equally helping. Seeking guidance on what to do should the lockdown continue, finding out how to manage for those unable to reach the facility due to lack of transport, and other concerns are good indicators of patients owning the responsibility for their treatment compared to the past where many had to be continuously reminded.

(This article was first published on  Reach Out Mbuya website)

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