Tag Archives: alive medical services

A Mother’s Love Resurrects a Dying Child

Taking care of a child – any child – is never easy. But when Irene found out her adopted daughter, Gift, was HIV-positive, she was at a loss for what to do. Gift’s diagnosis came during a difficult time, as Irene brought the baby to Alive Medical Services (AMS) when she was near death. After the doctors and nurses treated Gift, she was started on antiretroviral medication at the age of 2.

“I had never taken care of an HIV-positive person before,” Irene said. “AMS did so many tests and figured out what was happening to my child.”

After Gift’s condition stabilized, Irene continued visiting AMS to seek out advice and retrieve Gift’s medication. The counsellors helped Irene understand the importance of proper disclosure, and taught her methods of discussing HIV in ways that wouldn’t scare or stigmatize her daughter. For years, Irene and Gift took medication together, turning it into a morning routine where Irene would swallow her vitamin supplements, while Gift would take her antiretroviral treatment.

When Irene felt Gift was old enough to know the truth, Irene was honest with her. After discussing her status just the two of them, Irene took Gift to visit the AMS counsellors. Though she was only 8 years old at the time, Gift immediately started tracking her medications with a watch, taking full control over her treatment and her health.

“She really was amazing, and I’m so proud of her,” Irene said. “But she also got the right information from the right people at the right time.”

Gift is now 9 years old, and Irene reports that she feels free about her diagnosis. Her health is stable, and she has disclosed her status to the older members of her family.

“I used to think: how am I going to do this?” Irene said. “I used to be scared. But I thank God for Alive. Now I know exactly how to care for my child.”

The Law’s on Your Side: A Story of Strength and Perseverance

When Robert’s* company started withholding salaries from their employees, he tried his best to keep faith.

“We’re going through a difficult time, his boss said, “We’ll get you your money soon.”

Robert waited. Month after month, his boss paid him the bare minimum – 30,000 shillings here ($8 USD), 20,000 shillings there ($6 USD), always promising Robert’s full salary was on the way. Robert continued to work, hoping he could believe his employer’s repeated promises.

Ten months later, nothing – and everything – had changed. Unable to secure his agreed-upon salary, Robert could no longer afford to pay rent. Robert’s landlord threw his family out on the street, and their only option was to move in with a friend. For months, Robert, his wife and their three children crowded into the corner of a shared one bedroom flat. His wife, an HIV-positive client at AMS, began drinking excessively as the stress mounted. And though Robert contacted a lawyer to help him secure his salary, the corruption continued – his lawyer dodged his calls and refused to help. He had been bribed by Robert’s company himself.

“I didn’t take one day of leave for four years,” Robert said. “We had nothing to eat. Nothing to survive. My employer refused to pay, and I looked for any job I could find.”

With his wife’s health declining, Robert began taking full control of her and their daughter’s HIV treatment. He picked up their medication at Alive Medical Services (AMS) whenever they needed it, and on one of those trips, Robert reached out to Alice, a staff member in AMS’ counselling department.

“She told me: don’t surrender,” Robert said. “Have hope. It’s your money and you deserve to get it in full. We will fight for it.”

Alice connected Robert to Justice Centres Uganda, a legal aid centre that helps Uganda’s most vulnerable citizens access legal services. For years, AMS has sustained a partnership with Justice Centres Uganda, which allows our counsellors to link clients to a lawyer free of charge.

Robert needed to get what was rightfully his to save both himself and his family, and Justice Centres Uganda did just that. After Robert’s new lawyer got involved, his employer finally surrendered a significant amount of the money owed to him. With that money, Robert bought a half acre of land, upon which he plans to build a house and start a pig farm.

“We are doing better now than ever before,” Robert said. “Alice encouraged me to keep fighting for my rights. I’m so grateful that I did.”

* indicates an individual’s name has been changed for their privacy

Meet Beatrice, the Head of Nursing at AMS

Ever since she could remember, Beatrice wanted to be a nurse.

“I saw a lot of suffering around me,” she said. “Even at a young age, I wanted to learn how to help.”

Beatrice loved connecting with people, and she admired the way nurses cared for their patients – not only delivering essential medical care, but providing emotional support alongside it. To achieve her dreams, Beatrice was trained as both a nurse and a midwife, and moved to Kampala after getting married in 2000. Soon after, Beatrice began working as a midwife for a Bukasa-based medical center.

Today, Beatrice is the head of Alive Medical Services’ (AMS) nursing department. She was one of the first staff members at AMS, joining the team when the clinic opened in 2007. At that time, AMS had just one building and six patients, but her friendship with AMS founder Dr. Pasquine cemented her trust in the organization. In the decade since, Beatrice has had a front-row seat of AMS’ expansion: she watched one building turn into three, and six patients turn into more than 13,000.

“I love what I do,” Beatrice said. “I understand the clients and I take pride in helping them. I encourage them, and try to provide them with the support they need to keep on living.”

When she first began working at AMS, Beatrice conducted deliveries as a midwife. Over time, AMS has shifted its activities to focus on pre- and post-natal care, supporting mothers not only as they prepare for delivery, but as they continue caring for their children years after. To ensure safe births, we provide pregnant mothers with referrals to trusted hospitals, and continue following up with mothers throughout their children’s lives.

As head of AMS’ nursing department, Beatrice sees over a team of four, whose responsibilities are vast and varied. Nurses work with patients immediately upon their arrival to the clinic, taking their vital signs and measurements, and recording their data for the doctors. They also administer patients’ treatment, check on those in the inpatient wards, deliver health education sessions, and provide family planning services, among other essential activities. Beatrice is also in charge of AMS’ stock; in this role, she monitors all medicine moving in and out of the clinic.

“It feels good to help people,” Beatrice said. “And the impact we make feels important.”