Health

TASO's Message On World AIDS Day

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World AIDS DAY 2013 Full Message:


In the early 1980’s, a strange disease, which was later confirmed as AIDS, was reported in the District of Rakai.


It spread across the country like a bush fire and a number of institutions moved to do something about the emerging challenge.


One of the earliest response was the founding of TASO in 1987 to provide care and support to individuals and families infected and affected by AIDS.


The founders of TASO recognised that the challenge of this disease rested on the communities.

Therefore, any efforts to respond effectively and sustainably to the AIDS challenge were to be community-based and people-centered approaches.


TASO provided a package of care and support services at its service centres, which contributed to a positive environment for infected people to live positively with dignity.

However, the environment in many communities remained hostile and was characterised by denial, stigma, discrimination and rejection.

These factors intricately continued to fuel the spread of HIV and AIDS.

TASO worked with the communities to create an environment that provided infected individuals and families the reception and care that were similar to what clients experienced while at TASO service centres.


This idea created community- owned HIV and AIDS prevention, care and support systems and structures.


The early benefits from these initiatives were increased knowledge on HIV and AIDS and a direct confrontation of stigma and discrimination, leading to increased opening up and acceptability of the challenge caused by the pandemic.


Communities started knowing they had a pivotal role in the fight to defeat HIV and AIDS, given that the conditions and factors that fuelled infections were mainly social and the epidemic affected all communities without discrimination.


It is these early gains that made community programming a corner stone in TASO HIV and AIDS response.


Many partners across the world have adopted community programming as a sustainable model in the HIV response, given that its takes the fight to defeat HIV to the very local context that fuel its spread.


The TASO founder, Dr. Noerine Kaleeba later moved to work with UNAIDS to champion community programming in the HIV and AIDS response based on the TASO experience and other similar success stories across the world.


Community structures and approaches have been remodelled to match the current trends, maintain their relevance and maximize benefits and value on investment in the response.


They are re-aligned to the National Community and Health Systems Strengthening approach with three main components; HIV prevention, HIV and AIDS care and Impact mitigation.


The three arms are supported by the following community resource structures; Health Management Committees, Village Health Teams (VHTs), Mentor Mothers, Expert Clients, Community Volunteers, Linkage Facilitators.

These offer a number of critical services including; HIV and AIDS sensitisation, condom education and distribution, peer counselling, ART drug delivery, adherence support and appointments support.


Others are home care and referrals to TASO service centres, public health facilities and other service providers.


The provision of these services at the community level have resulted into an increased number of individuals accessing HIV prevention, care and support services in Uganda and have created safety nets for mitigating the impact of HIV and AIDS at community level.


Through this model and related approaches, TASO now cares for over 100,000PLHIV annually, with 66,000 persons on ART.


Cumulatively, TASO has cared for over 300,000 people and has reached out to about 1,000,000 members of their families in the communities with related support services.


Over 7,150 households of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) are supported to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS.


As we commemorate World AIDS Day 2013, TASO joins the rest of the world in a call to take back to the communities the fight to defeat HIV and AIDS.

TASO is a great example of accelerating community action towards effective HIV prevention, care and support.


By joining our efforts, we shall achieve more in the global targets of “Zero new infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS–related deaths”.


TASO acknowledges support of all Ugandans who have rallied behind it through membership subscription and the contributions made by of all the development partners in TASO’s efforts over the last 26 years.


TASO Vision: “A World without HIV and AIDS”

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