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Covid-19 : How Kitovu Mobile braves lockdown to extend HIV,Palliative Care services to hundreds of clients in Masaka Region

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Jacky,Palliative Care nurse gives oral morphine refills to a palliative care client in Lwengo District,about 30 Kilometers from the facility, The client battles Kaposisarcoma. Photos by Moses Muwulya

By Moses Muwulya,Communications Officer

Bidding to curb the spread of the infamousCovid-19,Uganda,like other Countries, imposed a quarantine.

A ‘sad’, but necessary move,the quarantine saw many of Kitovu Mobile palliative and HIV care clients sink in fear.

Mostly those on palliative care,hundreds of clients thought they were destined to sink in oceanic pain as they couldn’t access Kitovu Mobile health facility for drug refills .

Paul Lubega,a palliative care client battling advanced prostate cancer and HIV said:”We thought the organisation was to to halt its home care program”

Lubega says the program is  alternative arrangement that helps those who don’t come to the facility even before the quarantine over financial constraints.

His worries were not different from Namuli (not real names), who battles cervical cancer and other clients. Namuli shares that she wondered how she would Oral Morphine,a drug that lessens on pain.

Namuli,also in Lwengo District,recives her drugs deliverd by Jacky, The cervical cancer client had had her spouse mortocyle impounded by Police for defying curfew and thus had no means of coming for drugs apart from waiting for such home deliveries by Kitovu Mobile.

However, the exceptional care for Kitovu Mobile,couldn’t see  management let this looming ill fate happen to its pitiable clients.

Livingstone Katerega,the incharge,Kitovu Mobile Health Center III,Kitovu Mobile static health facility that  provides mobile  Medical services,says they could not lest clients sink in pain,but to brave the lockdown and extend such a noble services;Palliative and HIV care.

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Kateregga explaining how the Organisation braves lockdown.

How the Organisation does it?

Becaus Kitovu Mobile offers both Medical and Community Empowerment services,Katerega explains he collaborated with the Chief Excutive Officer,Mr Justus Rugambwa and secured  vehicle movement permits  stickers for three organisation vans.

One of the vans that traverses Greater Masaka,taking drugs to clients.

One of the vans that traverses Greater Masaka,taking drugs to clients.

”It’s is these vans that are used to deliver drugs to clients who can not access the facility,many of whom residing in far  distant areas,” Katerega explains

Although this means huge fuel expenses,Mr Rugambwa says Kitovu Mobile’s commitment to fulfilling  its mission overshadowed the former.

“This is so because anxiety is taking toll on people over Covid19;and to such people with underlying health issues ,anxiety justifiably exceeds,” Rugambwa notes

Mr Katerega explains that the organisation doubled  refills for both ARVs and Morphine delivered to it’s distant clients.

In the field health workers ensure that they that they are safe. They were masks as well as sanitising clients before engaging with them.

Counselor san

Counselor  sanitises a granny who receives palliative care over elderly. She had paid her a visit to give her morphine and soap.

Though expensive picking medics from their residences, it is done daily to have medical workers attend to the clients who can access the facility for services.

At the facility, standard operating procedures are effected.

The gate keeper never allows any medic to enter facility without sanitizing.

Inside, the facility social distancing is also respected.

Wearing masks,a new norm is also adhered to.

Palliative and HIV Care Clients in numbers

Over 200 People Living with HIV/AIDS get ART services from Kitovu Mobile Art Clinic while close to 300 clients,battaling different terminal illnesses,mostly cancer get palliative care services.

For ART Clients,most of them have had their viral load suppressed with adherence to drugs being super good. It is such development which buttresses the 95- 95 -95 target that the organisation tries to guard by ensuring that clients don’t miss drugs despite the lockdown.

Apeal to government and well-wishers for food relief

Katerega is concerned that many of the clients might fail to take their drugs consistently over shortage of food,requesting government to consider giving such clients relief to ably take drugs.

”Many of the,no longer engage in work,mostly bodaboda riders and thus lack what to eat and taking such strong drugs on empty stomach,one rather leaves taking them”

He adds :”It thus our humble appeal to government and any other well wisher to support our efforts”

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