Alison and Michelle Raise more than £3,300

Alison and Michelle

Alison and Michelle raised more than £3,300 from their family and friends who sponsored their recent marathon in Edinburgh.

These funds will be used to continue supporting the STI clinic in Makindye division, Kampala. This clinic provides counselling, testing and treatment, free of charge, to those that could not otherwise afford to access such care.

The clinic is an integral part of our Touch Namuwongo Programme which also provides counselling, testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS and TB. We are currently planning to extend these services to include safe male circumcision.

In recent years about 20,000 adults living in Makindye division have accessed services from the Touch programme.

Our thanks also to Helen for her continued support for the STI clinic.

HIV Counselling and Testing in Makindye

An essential step in helping to prevent the transmission of HIV is to be able to access testing and from that to know your status.

In the last few years, Hope Clinic Lukuli, Touch Namuwongo and our recent SMC Programme have, between them, provided HIV counselling and testing (HCT) to more than 70,000 adults in the Makindye division of Kampala.

From those tested, some 2,300 have been enrolled into treatment programmes and of those, 725 are currently receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART).

1-1 Counselling by Touch Namuwongo during HCT in Makindye

Toward an AIDS-Free Generation

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Virginia Blaser made a statement recently about the on-going support by the USA for healthcare in Uganda and for the fight against HIV/AIDS in particular. You can read the statement in full here.

This statement of support comes at an interesting point in time. The Uganda Ministry of Health has just recently announced that a recent survey shows the prevalence of HIV has increased to 7.3% of adults, that’s about 1.2m people, more than double the number estimated 7 years ago.

In Uganda, with the support of Target TB, Touch Namuwongo (IMF) has improved access to health education and HIV testing in the community through outreach work. Here a fully trained community healthworker undertakes blood tests at a mobile clinic.

In June the Government of Uganda announced that the allocation of national budget to the Healthcare sector would be reduced from 9.8% in 2011/12 to just 7.6% this year. Depending on the exchange rate this is equivalent to about $307m.

In her statement, Blaser starts by reminding us that since 2004, the American people have invested over $1.7 billion in support of the national HIV response in Uganda. Most of this has been channelled through PEPFAR, for which we should always give a note of thanks to former President George W. Bush.

In 2003, Bush launched the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), pledging $15 billion to end the suffering and save lives threatened by the AIDS epidemic. In 2008, Congress agreed to provide $38 billion more.

In Uganda an estimated 600,000 people living with HIV need to be treated with ARVs but only 330,000 are currently receiving these life-saving drugs and of those the USA directly supports funding for 314,000. Antiretroviral treatment, ART, means that a person living with HIV can expect to live as long as their fellow countrymen who are HIV infection free.

We know that ensuring early and sustained access to ART for all those that need it will be a very significant intervention in the fight to reduce the growing numbers of new infections. So it is good to hear Blaser state:

the PEPFAR program in Uganda will review its programs to ensure that we prioritise treatment expansion to ensure all who need ART receive it

On July 5th Blaser stated that $425m will be given in Aid to boost Uganda’s health sector. This is more than 60% of the total Aid being given by USA to Uganda and is some 40% more than the GoU budget allocation.

That budget allocation is coming under increasing scrutiny. Blaser urges the GoU to increase the allocation to the 15% committed in the Abuja Declaration. Whether or not the country can afford to reach that target, it should perhaps be a little more circumspect before revealing that it spends some $150m to send VIPs overseas for healthcare treatment.

It is clear to me that fighting HIV is more than just about GoU budget or Aid from USA. That budget and Aid need to be used more effectively, we need to focus our attention on proven interventions that we know will work. Implementation will involve many different partners from all parts of the health sector and as Blaser says:

By working together, we can free Uganda from this terrible epidemic.  Let us all fight together for an “AIDS-free generation.”

Dr. Simon Blankley, VSO, working in Uganda

This short video, 3:15, by Schuman Hoque highlights some of the work done by Dr. Simon Blankley whilst he was here with International Medical Foundation in Uganda. Simon came as a VSO and helped to develop the TB programme at IMF, in collaboration with our funding partners Target TB, based in the UK.

The relationship with Target TB will enter a new phase later this year when we complete the final application phase for renewed funding by DfID, which will extend Touch Namuwongo, our HIV/TB programme in the Makindye division of Kampala.

TB kills 3,800 people every day,
more than Malaria and AIDS.

The video shows the teams working at International Hospital Kampala and in the community outreaches both in Kampala and in Lira, N. Uganda.

You can view this video on its original website in HD and higher quality here.

You can read more about our award winning TB prorgamme here.

Alison and Michelle – Edinburgh Marathon

Alison and Michelle - Just Giving page

Alison writes:

Alison and Michelle have chosen to pound the streets of Edinburgh to raise money for the Suubi Trust, a charity that they know is making a huge difference to many of the most vulnerable people in Uganda through its numerous healthcare projects.

Having just recently spent 18 months volunteering in Uganda as a doctor, Alison was privileged enough to be involved in many of these health projects and so has first hand experience of the amazing work that they are doing despite very limited resources. Visit their website http://blog.suubitrust.org.uk/ for more details.

We know that every penny you donate will make a huge impact to many lives in Uganda so with your support we will make sure we stay the course, even if it is on our knees!!

Please click on the photo above and help support Alison and Michelle…

Suubi Trust Annual Returns

Since it was registered on July 2nd 2007, Suubi Trust has raised just over £200,000 to help support the work of International Medical Foundation, an NGO providing healthcare services to the financially disadvantaged in Uganda.

Our key focus at this time is raising funds to build a maternity theatre at Charis Health Centre in Lira, Northern Uganda. This is an essential project that will provide a facility from which local women will be able to access safe maternal delivery services and emergency obstetrics as required. Building works are underway; you can watch progress by clicking on the image below.

Week 07 of the Theatre Build, click on image to see more in this album.

We continue to provide funding to support treatment of cancer patients on the charity “Hope Ward” at International Hospital Kampala (IHK), Uganda. These funds help to ensure that such care and treatment is accessible to those that otherwise could not afford it.

Most of the funds raised by Suubi Trust come from individual supporters.

We are grateful to Richard and Pat who have led the fund raising for the theatre build in Lira. Rose and Becci helped to get this fund started.

Alison, her family and friends, including Helen, continue to support the work in Namuwongo that Alison was involved with during her time there as a VSO volunteer.

Kate and Caroline, to name just two, are keen supporters of the Cancer Care fund and are amongst the first to use standing orders and Give As You Earn.

Jamie, Louise, Emily, Sean and Rose helped to raise funds using Justgiving pages.

Our thanks also to church members in Hazlemere and Menorca.

All money raised by Suubi Trust is used to support the work of International Medical Foundation in Uganda. Our Trustees are volunteers and do not charge for any services or expenses. The only administration costs covered by the funds raised, and the associated gift aid, are bank charges and the cost of having the online giving facility at Justgiving.

You can review our accounts and annual returns on the Charity Commission website by clicking on the image below.

CharityCommissionLogo

Thank you all for your kind and generous support and we wish you all a great 2012.

Dr. Alison Raising Funds for Touch Namuwongo

A recent post by Dr. Alison described how she helped to establish an STD Clinic within the Touch Namuwongo Programme in Kampala.

This summer Alison, Alan and their family raised £1,171 to help support this programme by speaking at a local church lunch and hosting a Ugandan party for supportive friends in her native St Albans.

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Alison (on right in photo above) sent us this message:

We wanted to update you after our latest fundraising venture on 16th July. It was a fantastic evening of fun and frolics in the community centre around the corner from us and was well-attended with over 80 people. Whilst people could still concentrate, we kicked off with a talk from us about our time in Uganda including the work of the Suubi Trust and the Royal Pride School in which Alan was involved. We raised a total of £1168 which we will split evenly between the 2 causes (£584 each). Everyone came in the Ugandan colours and some draped in the Ugandan flag.

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(Alison’s husband Alan is in the centre in the photo above)

So, in summary, this means that the first church event raised £587 and this latest event raised £584 – a total of £1,171.

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Our thanks to Alison and all her friends for their generosity and continued support; this will help to make a difference for many of our Touch clients receiving care at this clinic.

Dr. Alison (VSO) working with Touch Namuwongo

Alison with her familyAlison Cowan, a GP from the UK, and her family have recently returned after a fabulous 18 months in Uganda working with the IMG group through the charity VSO. She came to Uganda initially to facilitate the training of medical staff across the various IMG primary care clinics. Through this work she came to appreciate the enormous burden of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and its devastating consequences within Uganda and especially Kampala and recognised the need for a comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare service. So, once her original placement objective was fulfilled, she extended her placement to work with the Touch Namuwongo Team based at the International Hospital of Kampala (IHK), within the neighbouring communities, to tackle this growing problem of STDs.

Even though STDs are very prevalent in Kampala, and are responsible for a lot of death and disease, very little attention and minimal resources are focused on this area, beyond HIV. The Touch Namuwongo team work with the poorest members of the Kampala community local to IHK and offer services for HIV, TB and STDs. With respect to STDs, prior to Alison’s involvement, the team were just able to treat the symptomatic cases in their hospital clinics and community outreach. However, this approach was only scratching the surface of the problem as 50-70% of disease can be silent. There was no system or resources in place to identify and screen those members of the community most at risk from these diseases and who were often without symptoms. As well as unknowingly transmitting these diseases on to others, the presence of STDs also facilitates transmission of HIV so further fuelling the HIV epidemic. Alison developed a risk score tool capable of identifying such members of the community and which would also then appropriately target their limited resources to the most in need of treatment. Despite resources being very stretched, with the enthusiasm and commitment of the Touch Namuwongo team, the support of IMG and the help of kind donations they were able to get establish a comprehensive service which identified both symptomatic and asymptomatic disease.

Alison also obtained some funding from Oxford University to carry out a research project that aimed to derive and validate this risk score tool. As an associated benefit, the study also funded a large volume of screening and medicines for treatment of STDs in the data gathering process.

The Touch Namuwongo team took on the extra burden of work involved in the study without complaint and worked tirelessly to deliver the service and also produce the data which is in the process of being analysed to develop an effective protocol going forward.

Alison with Immaculate one of theTNP team

Initially Alison was heavily involved in the actual running of the clinics, but by the time Alison returned to the UK, the team was delivering the service without any additional input and continues to do so with great effect, despite the challenges and hard work this entails. Even though the clinics are already very busy, the team recognise what a valuable service it provides and so continue to reach out to the community to encourage others to be screened and treated, especially those communities where the need is greatest. They have got a good relationship with the local commercial sex workers, who continue to attend the clinics and who themselves are becoming advocates of the service.

The research funding has now drawn to an end and so there is a desperate need for on-going funding to continue to deliver this valuable service. Alison continues to raise funds for the STD programme through Suubi Trust, recently speaking at a local church lunch and is soon hosting a Ugandan party for supportive friends in her native St Albans.

The team with some added extras Alison’s children