Who is Kitovu Mobile?
Kitovu Mobile is a Faith Based Organization under the “Registered Trustees of Masaka Diocese” that was started by the Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMM) in the year 1987 as a response to the HIV and AIDS crisis in Rakai district. The organization employs a holistic approach to addressing needs of both the infected and affected people within their communities of operation which are predominantly rural and poor, with high rates of HIV (12% prevalence) and large numbers of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. The most vulnerable include PLHA, orphans & other vulnerable children (approximately 1m orphans) and widows, among others.
Kitovu Mobile works directly with people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs). It provides anti-retroviral therapy (ART), palliative care and medical treatment for opportunistic infections. These services are based out of 121 centers. Medical workers also travel to remote, rural areas to test the health of community residents, distribute antiretroviral drugs to those in need and counsel the community on HIV/AIDS prevention. Once a month, community residents congregate at a scheduled meeting place and wait for Kitovu’s mobile AIDS clinic to arrive.
In addition, the organization trains community workers to sensitize local communities about such topics as basic facts of HIV/AIDS, behavior change, family planning, home-based care and will making. Counseling is also a large part of what Kitovu Mobile does as a way to limit the psychological impact of the disease on the population. The project focuses on counseling which is a psychological treatment so as to soothe the pain which the infected and affected people go through thus enabling them have a positive thinking; and also uses the training strategy targeting mainly people who are willing to offer counseling services more so at the community level, aiming at increasing the number of service providers and strengthening the quality of counseling services among the target groups.
History of Kitovu Mobile
Kitovu Mobile, a faith based organization, was started by the Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMM) as a response to the needs of HIV and AIDS patients who were opting to be cared for within the confines of their home areas. The Home Based Care (HBC) was the first programme established. Originally, the program visited patients in their homes to provide care services and later formed centers so that many patients could be seen in one place. There were 111 outreach centers providing treatment for 5,500 clients for opportunistic infections, counseling, HIV Testing, medical and social support.
The training program was created; and support for orphans and their families started (education, housing, necessities, IGAs etc). Starting with 250 orphans, the number rose to 8000 orphans by 1997. This comprehensive orphans’ support ended after the Universal Primary Education (UPE) was introduced.
KM also opened the four year Mobile Farm Schools for school dropouts. To date 31 sub counties have been covered.
Palliative care, using the WHO Pain Relief ladder, was introduced as a component of Home based care for many PLHIV and Cancer patients and their families.
Trauma counselling was started to alleviate the suffering of traumatized children and to enable AIDS orphans and their guardians to express grief. In 2006 the project was scaled up until 2016 when it phased out.
Kitovu Mobile partnered with the Ministry of Health, Uganda Cares, and MRC to provide free antiretroviral treatment (ART) to eligible clients.
Project targeting grandmothers who experience multiple sufferings as a result of many external factors such as, HIV and AIDS pandemic, grief, isolation, trauma and burden of caring for many grandchildren/orphans was initiated.
The Beyond ART agricultural component was integrated into the Home based Care to encourage clients to look for creative ways of empowering themselves for economic independence.
KM transferred 1500 PLHIV who were in 111 outreaches to the already accredited government health facilities for continued HIV care. Today, Kitovu Mobile maintains a static medical static center III, providing HIV and AIDS/TB services, palliative care services, Cancer prevention and screening services and general health care services at its premises.
The number of years the mobile farm school course runs reduced from 4 to 3 years which was found to be relatively enough for the vulnerable youth to become self-reliant and this has enabled a wider reach.
The counselling and training Program, moved from direct implementation of the trauma project to capacity building of 720 teachers, 180 community leaders, child rights advocates to provide psychosocial support, education for life skills.
The donor funding priorities changed significantly; long term funding partners – CAFOD, partner for over 30 years, and KNH phased out the psychosocial support (after 15 years)
Find more details about Kitovu Mobile here: http://www.kitovumobile.com/