This week, I am in Kihihi, in Kanungu, South East of the Rwenzoris. Kanungu is one of the 13 districts part of the Strengthening TB and AIDS Response in South Western Uganda – STAR-SW – a USAID supported Technical Assistance Program in Uganda. STAR-SW is one of various technical assistance programs implemented by the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundations, along with 5 others – See Here.
The week, is to help us all, appreciate the work over the last 3 years, as well as to examine the cross linkages between the various programs at the district level. There are 5 technical areas that EGPAF programs support in the region: HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT), Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), HIV Care & Treatment (ART C&T), Safe Male Circumcision (SMC), and Tuberculosis Interventions.
When they talk about Africa’s dense forests, I am happy to note, that on a routine day at work, i was awarded with 3 breathtaking hours, of a drive through the magnificent Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (and National Park).
I present to you….
So its official, Kampala might as well be called Boda Central! When you are named Banana Republic, then you can understand why so many things go rotten quickly, and why its always slippery if you step on the peels.
I am sick to my stomach, and angry at the sight of a Police Officer (Director of Operations) standing on a make shift stage, along side an unidentified man, who is rallying Boda Boda cyclists against the impending registration and re-ordering of their operation within the city; and ordering the Capital City Authority to withdraw the registration instructions.
Who is this man? Does he live in Kampala? How long has he lived in Kampala? How many Boda Bodas does he have? How much, in taxes, does he pay every year? How much has he actually paid, proof of which he has? Am just trying to establish the moral and positional authority, especially on behalf of the 3.5 million persons who live in Kampala, against which he can stand and order disobedience of a public instruction of a city authority…
Yesterday I met 11-year old Ainamanige Collins. Distraught and visibly bothered, Collins is one of the children who turned up at an Ariel Club meeting. Ariel was a child of Elizabeth Glaser, who passed away while young because the world had not thought about Pediatric medication for HIV Positive Children. Ariel clubs are meetings specially arranged for HIV positive children, where they meet peers, get medication refills, get their CD4 Counts done and generally have fun, despite their medical condition. But Collin’s problems were not under his skin, they were in the system he was born in. 1 of 5 children, whose farmer parents are left with no option but to send him to a public school. Collins has missed most of the second school term for lack of school fees. 12000UGX per term! At the end of the day, I told Collins not to worry about school, because the God he had just prayed to, as the meeting closed, had answered his prayer for school fees for the rest of his primary school education. After 1 day, and 1 prayer, at least in Collins’ eyes, there is hope.
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden…
This morning, i read the story of my good friend Sam Agona lamenting the new war of Northern Uganda – the Sex War – but the thing that caught my gasping attention was the mention of young gals who are facing the sexual front, with multiple partners, and using unsafe means, under the illusion that HIV will not kill them, if they have access to the right drugs.
This notion is galvanized, in part by Noerine Kaleeba‘s TASO Service Center in the bustling northern city, once the safest haven from the marauding LRA. Opened in 2004, the center operates in the heart of the Northern Uganda. During the time of insurgency, most of the population was living in Internally Displaced people’s Camps. The center had to offer services in a camp setting. With more people living in small grass thatched houses and associated poor living conditions, there was high HIV/AIDS prevalence in the region.
So am all packed up and ready to head home – after 15days at the GHC Training Institute, hosted at the famed Yale University. This past few days, my cheese has moved, in interactions with great people like Barbara Bush, Havard Business School’s Rob Kaplan, and Phil Wilson of the Black AIDS Institute.
And my life has been dramatically changed! I am a Global Health Corp – or rather, simply put:
I belong to a community of young passionate leaders who, now more strongly than ever before, share a common belief that Health is a Human Right. And I believe that I have my own share of the work to use social justice to being about Health Equity.
I embrace the philosophy of active problem solving, and engaging global partnerships in order to bring about real and sustainable change. I need the complete spectrum of life itself, in skills, experiences, and perspectives from people like you in order bring about a serious change in global health.
Architects, Nurses, Computer Scientists and people like You from allover the world – break down walls to unite and enact expertise from all disciplines and backgrounds. Together, we support Global Health Equity Movement.
I am a Challengers, I am a Thinkers, and I am a Change Maker. I am, a Global Health Corp.
More about Global Health Corps
This week, it was reported, that Kenya’s President, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to a pact by the Software Giant, Microsoft, through their Microsoft International, to provide, among other things, 260,000 Computers for children in Kenyan Schools.
In only 48hours, the news of this had spread like a wild fire, among Africa’s premier FOSS community – FOSSFA Members Forum – and has elicited a continent wide bag of mixed reactions. Coley Zephania did not mince his words “Microsoft has struck the Head. FOSS is dead in Kenya!”, he urges a mode direct approach, asking FOSSFA to make immediate plans to meet with the Kenyan Government over this matter. Juma Lungo from Tanzania was more optimistic, “I believe FOSS Kenya will forge its way. There is always an opportunity window” .” Lets unite and support FOSS in Kenya”, is his plea.