News and Events

Frontline Hero: Promoting the uptake of ARV drugs among HIV positives in Hoima District

Kigorobya Health Centre is one of the Government facilities in Hoima district in western Uganda where IDI provides support through a PEPFAR/CDC-funded project and with support from the Ministry of Health Uganda.  

The health facility is headed by Mr. David Andia, the facility in-charge and senior medical clinical officer, and he is one of the IDI front line heroes in the HIV/AIDS response in Hoima district. 

David has been at the forefront of HIV care and prevention activities since 1996, when he joined the facility as a clinical officer and later assumed an administrative role as in-charge of the facility in 1998. 

At the time, Kigorobya subcounty which stretches along the shore of Lake Albert, had no ART services. Patients had to travel to either Hoima Regional Hospital, Kikuube Health Centre or The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) clinic in Masindi. David kept lobbying the district leadership and other implementing partners for support to enable him to extend support to many of the clients who were trekking long distances for ART services. His efforts bore partial fruit in 2010 when Kikuube Health Centre, supported by IDI, started offering ART to Kigorobya Health Centre as an outreach site. A year later, his prayers were fully answered when Kigorobya Health Centre was finally accredited to offer full-fledged ART services as a standalone facility. By the end June 2016, the number of patients who have ever been enrolled at this facility stood at 1,994 clients. 

For David, this was not the end of the road - clients were facing a lot of stigma; ARVs were not regularly available, the facility had inadequate infrastructural space; and healthcare workers had limited knowledge and skills to manage HIV positive patients and there was limited interest in working in the busy ART Clinic. Amidst all the above challenges, he continued extending the service to his clients in the community. He identified HIV-positive clients whom the community thought would die soon. He encouraged them to enroll into care, and as a result; their health improved greatly. David believes that this not only boosted his morale, but also built the confidence of his clients in the care offered at Kigorobya Health Centre. It also encouraged those who were not yet in care to enroll for the same service; hence, the noted growth in the clientele load.  

Through his leadership skills, he has made sure ART services are supported and strengthened, by ensuring that the capacity of healthcare workers at his facility is built. He has recommended his fellow health workers to undergo a series of trainings in HIV care. He appreciates PEPFAR through CDC for supporting IDI to make his dream come true; today, the livelihoods of people living with HIV in Hoima Region have improved.  

To quote David - “I get more energized to work each day when I see patients who would otherwise be dead, alive today. This is because they were started on life-saving ARVs. I also feel happy that we are offering services that align with the Ministry of Health standards”. 

Implementing the Global Health Security Agenda in Uganda: the Infectious Diseases Institute – Global Health Security Project

The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) is an effort by nations, international organizations, and civil society to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats; to promote global health security as an international priority; and to spur progress toward full implementation of global health security frameworks (including International Health Regulations 2005). In 2015, the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) received funding from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement a five-year project ‘Global Health Security Partner Engagement Project: Expanding Efforts and Strategies to Protect and Improve Public Health Globally’. The project supports the health system in Uganda by strengthening policy, leadership, organization and management structures at national and facility levels. Efforts are focused centrally at Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and at 14 regional referral hospitals, the Mulago National Referral Hospital, Uganda National Health Laboratory Services (UNHLS) and selected facilities in the Kampala area.

Biosafety and Biosecurity: In cooperation with Uganda’s Ministry of Health and CDC, IDI is working to establish a national
 biosafety and biosecurity system, using a whole-of-government approach that incorporates One Health principles. In November 2016 partnership with the Ministry of Health, the project funded and coordinated the first regional Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference with over 300 participants, including high level delegates from Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, South-Sudan and representation from the International Federation of Biosecurity Associations and the African Biosafety Association. This key meeting supported advocacy towards national legislation for biosecurity and provided a platform for the formal launch of the Biosafety and Biosecurity Association of Uganda, an initiative also supported by IDI. Furthermore, IDI has worked to provide a harmonized bio-risk management curriculum for multi-disciplinary health personnel and 48 national trainers have been trained on this curriculum. Moving forward the project will support laboratory design, facility access controls and national pathogen inventory efforts. 

Antimicrobial Resistance and Acute Febrile Illness Surveillance: The project is providing ongoing support to the
National Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Task Force to develop an antimicrobial resistance surveillance plan for Uganda that is aligned with WHO standards. Case-based surveillance of clinical syndromes for antimicrobial resistance has been activated at three health facilities targeting children presenting with non-malarial fevers. Working with a local partner (the Infectious Disease Research Collaboration) blood cultures are being obtained to test for bacteria and where blood cultures turn out negative samples are sent for further testing at the Uganda Virus Research Institute to rule identify possible viral causes including especially dangerous pathogens. At three facilities, the project has supported the reconstitution and routine activities of infection prevention and control committees and medicine therapeutics committees that will serve as sustainable vehicles to support infection control and antimicrobial stewardship efforts. In addition, antimicrobial resistance data management software (WHONET) has been installed at 6 sites to support national surveillance efforts.

Laboratory systems: Less than half of the target facilities reported capacity to conduct culture and sensitivity testing, a key investigation required to support efforts to prevent emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Consequently, IDI
implemented a courier transportation system appropriate for blood culture samples to link health facilities to central laboratories for surveillance. Microbiology equipment including Bactec® machines and other supplies and materials were procured and distributed to three project sites. The project is providing technical assistance and buffer reagents and supplies to the national reference laboratory and health facility laboratories to ensure that vital microbiology services are available for direct patient care and to support national surveillance efforts.