Ugandan health workers trace HIV positive patients on phone

Over 600 patients abandon Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) at Buseruka Health Center III
Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) are HIV medicines to treat HIV infection.

Mbarara, Uganda | URN | HIV care givers in Mbarara district have resorted to tracing their clients on phone because of a huge decline in attendance since the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown was announced.

The lockdown came with the suspension of both private and public transport. Those with emergency are required to get written permission from the Resident District Commissioner (RDC).

Sister Judith Mbabazi, the in-Charge of the HIV/AIDS clinic at Mbarara Municipal Health center IV says there is a more than 50 percent decline in attendance.

She says they have resorted to making phone calls to their clients who have missed medication.

Agnes Kyokusiima, who we found at Mbarara hospital said she had to part with a lot of money to get to get to the hospital.

She explained that previously she used to pay Shillings 4000 to and from Mbarara but she now pays Shillings 20,000.

John Kasambuzi from Lyantonde used to get his medication from Mbarara before the lockdown.

He however said because of the lockdown he had to return home and is now challenged to move to Mbarara because of lack of public transport.

Kasambuzi said since it wasn’t his turn to get medication, he used a bicycle to pick medication for his wife who can’t walk.

Sr. Kedress Abenawe of Nyamityobora Health Center says they are now giving their clients medication for three months as opposed to two because of transport challenges.

Read Also: NDA warns Ugandans as fake HIV test kits circulates on the market

Mbarara Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Keiruky Longino Mugisha, says they have stocked all health center IIs with drugs and asked clients to pick their medication from the nearest health centers.

He however says some of the clients have decided to stay away for fear of being seen picking drugs from their village health centers because of stigma.