Reaching out to ART clients amidst the COVID19 lockdown

Several efforts and measures have been put in place to battle the spread of COVID19 including a lockdown and quarantine (self or institutional). However; this has budded a number of challenges especially on individuals that depend entirely on public transport.
One such category is ART clients who live distant places away from health facilities and yet need access to these facilities so as to get their refills. In some incidences, they have been left stranded and lost hope on whether they might get their next doses.
Fortunately, Youth Alive Club members have been able to reach out to these special groups. We believe in continuity of life even during a pandemic like this one where individuals battling other ailments are not left behind.

“These are people I have been working on while at the health facility, I would really feel bad if their viral suppression went down due to missed appointments. That is why I make sure I look out for them wherever they are,” notes Ibrahim Mwase, a Youth Alive Club member in Bugiri District.

Mwase has an ART refill schedule of his patients which he uses to ensure they have the drugs at the right time. To achieve that during the lock down, he hires a motorbike at 20,000ugx per day, fuels it and delivers ART drugs to his patients in the community.
However, he is challenged by clients who switch off their telephones when he intends to deliver their drugs, distant places of residence and bad roads. He is also financially constrained since this is a personal initiative.
#Youth-led Acts of Good #YLActsofGood


Figure 1: A youth Alive member delivering drugs in Bugiri district


Figure 2: A youth alive member delivering drugs in Bugiri district

Young people at the frontline of COVID19

As a youth led organization implementing integrated youth development programs, Youth Alive Uganda has empowered and equipped young people with necessary skills on how to tackle arising issues around the novel COVID 19 pandemic.

These are able to approach their community members with more confidence when faced with questions as well as demystify myths and misconceptions on COVID 19. In Mayuge District for instance Doreen Naigaga, a Youth Alive Mmember interacts with an average of ten households a day sensitizing them on proper prevention measures including hand washing, social distancing, not touching their faces, nose and mouth as well as reporting to a health facility incase faced with symptoms like fever, coughing, sneezing among others.

These foot soldiers, as we prefer to call them also disseminate information through pinning up posters on COVID 19 that were provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in various locations. This kind of awareness creation helps to always ring a reminder to communities to adhere to the MOH set rules and guidelines.

Amidst this kind of intervention, there are community members who believe that COVID 19 is only for; those who travel by air transport, the elderly, whites, the rich among other myths and misconceptions. These are all clarified on by the trained young persons who give them factual information on the pandemic.

Doreen and a colleague pin up a COVID 19 poster on a chapati stall

Doreen carries out door to door sensitization on COVID 19

Sharing & Caring for the elderly during COVID19

At a time when the economy is grappling and there’s not much disposable income, not many would think of visiting or inviting a stranger to share with them the little that they have. Interestingly, young persons in Wakiso District who have been privileged to undertake Youth Alive Trainings have adopted morals and values which they keep promoting wherever they go.

“We were taught that it is always good to share and care for these old people. It doesn’t matter whether you have money or not. Sometimes we visit the elderly to just wash clothes, and slash their compounds,’ notes the chairperson of one of a youth groups in Wakiso District.

During this pandemic period the 28-member group represented by a few group members due to government restrictions on gatherings, visited elderly women and widows. They purchased for them basic necessities such as soap and food from individual savings. The elderly were extremely delighted for the good gesture exhibited by these young persons. During the visit, they learnt to always be grateful for what they have in life but also to always extend a helping hand whenever they are able.

Some group members deliver food items to an elderly woman

Food for thought: Have you taken trouble to share the little you have with your neighbors ?