Tag Archives: love

Happy Holidays from all of us at Alive Medical Services!

Wishing you happy holidays and a lovely New Year from Namuwongo!

Thank you so much for your support.

 

Five Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season!

As we wrap up one year and move onto the next, we often find ourselves looking for ways to give – not just to our friends and families, but to the causes we care most about. This holiday season, why not give to HIV-positive women, men, and children, and an organization you can trust?

Here are a few ways you can help support Alive Medical Services’ mission this holiday season.

(1) Donate to our projects on Global Giving

Alive Medical Services is seeking support for three major projects: Stop the Cycle of HIV: Support Women and Children!, End HIV Stigma Through Storytelling, and Transform the Lives of 13,000 HIV-Positive Ugandans. Donations made toward these causes will help AMS support our clients in 2018 and beyond.

Stop the Cycle of HIV: Support Women and Children

Across Uganda, hundreds of thousands of women are living with HIV. Without the proper support, HIV positive mothers will give birth to HIV positive babies, making an AIDS-free Uganda an impossibility. This project will help Alive Medical Services, a medical centre in one of Kampala’s poorest neighborhoods, support women and children with free HIV treatment. By donating, you will have an impact not only on the lives of our patients, but on the lives of families and communities as a whole.

End HIV Stigma Through Storytelling

In Uganda and around the world, HIV positive individuals are subject to severe stigma and discrimination. A biased perception of HIV results in staggering outcomes for those affected, impacting an individual’s ability to connect with others and adhere to their treatment. As a result, many fear getting tested and treated for HIV. With your help, this project will work to change perceptions of HIV through the power of storytelling – reshaping an HIV positive person as a fighter, not a victim.

Transform the Lives of 13,000 HIV-Positive Ugandans

Join us in transforming the lives of 13,000 Ugandans by supporting the work of Alive Medical Services (AMS). Strategically located in one of Kampala’s most impoverished neighborhoods, AMS provides holistic, free medical care 24/7. Clinicians, counselors and nurses serve patients with love and dignity, ensuring those living with HIV can live healthy, full lives. We provide medical care, income-generating programs, psychosocial support, nutrition aid, youth initiatives, and more.

(2) Drop your change in a donation box

Alive Medical Services has teamed up with 10 partners around Kampala to build a library in our Youth and Children’s Wing. Keep an eye out for our red donation boxes, and drop your change in as you leave! No amount is too small to donate, and every shilling counts.


Guardian Health
(Guardian Health has agreed to 100 percent match all donations!)

Locations: Kabalagala, Kisementi, Bunga Road, Jinja Main Road

Aristoc Booklex
Locations: Garden City, Kampala Road, Acacia Mall

BBROOD
Locations: Muyenga, Kisementi

C&A Pharmacy
Location: Kingsgate Mall

Café Kawa
Location: Tank Hill Road (next to BBROOD Muyenga)

Café Pap
Locations: Parliamentary Avenue, Garden City, Ntinda

Epiphania Pharmacy
Location: Tank Hill Road (next to Italian Supermarket)

Food and Goodies
Locations: Kabalagala

Friecca Pharmacy
Locations: Haji Musa Kasule Road, Wandegeya, Kampala Road

Goodlife Pharmacy
Location: Acacia Mall

(3) Fundraising event

Even if you can’t contribute money, there’s so much you can do to help! Organize an event at your school, office, or in your community, and donate the proceeds toward Alive Medical Services. Options for a fundraising event include:

  • Bake cookies, cupcakes, or treats and hold a bake sale
  • Round up the things you don’t use anymore and host a tag sale
  • If you’re a musician, holding a concert for family and friends
  • If you’re feeling the Christmas spirit, go caroling from door to door
  • Put on your best outfit and host a fashion show
  • Have a “casual day” in your office, with people paying a small fee to wear jeans or shorts
  • Host a food drive

The amount that you raise doesn’t have to be huge. Even $20 (or 20,000 shillings!) can mean the world to a client living with HIV. We can help make your event a success by offering details about our programs and the impact they have; event planning advice; communications materials; digital copies of promotional materials; and recognition of your event on our social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram).

If you’re interested in hosting a fundraising event for Alive and would like support, please contact Elissa at emiolene@amsuganda.org.

(4) Text to give

Donate to Alive Medical Services via Mobile Money!

MTN: 0 787 552 191
Airtel: 0 702 040 446

(5) In-Kind

As an HIV clinic that provides comprehensive care to our clients, we could use much more than just money – medical supplies, books, clothes, soap, personal hygiene items, blankets, food, and toys are all greatly appreciated, as each item will go directly toward an HIV-positive individual in need. Any and all of these donations can be dropped off at Alive Medical Services in Namuwongo, Kampala (we’re open 24/7!), or mailed to us at Plot 5, U.N. Rise First Close, Namuwongo, Kampala.

 

A Single Father’s Story of Love and Loss

Henry and his son, Richard, sit next to each other after Henry’s appointment at Alive Medical Services.

Henry’s wife passed away 25 years ago, but looking at him now, you’d think it happened yesterday. His body stiffens as he talks about her, pausing every so often to extract himself from the memories passing through his head.

“We didn’t know until it was too late,” Henry said. “And after she passed, everything changed.”

Back in 1993, Henry had barely realized what happened until his wife was gone. Henry contracted HIV from another partner and unknowingly passed it along to his wife. After she died, Henry was left to care for four children and his elderly mother, all the while battling HIV himself.

At the time, HIV was severely stigmatized in his community, making it difficult for Henry to openly seek help and treatment.

Henry would walk from health clinic to health clinic attempting to find antiretroviral medication. More often than not, he’d reach the pharmacy counter just to be turned away. It seemed that there were never enough antiretrovirals for everyone suffering, causing Henry’s health – and the wellbeing of his family – to drastically decline.

“I was so depressed during those years,” Henry said. “It was hard to get medication, and it was frustrating to have nowhere to go for help.”

Poor health, guilt and depression began to consume Henry, making it nearly impossible to work, feed his family, and gather the strength to keep on living. When he and his youngest son, Richard, came down with tuberculosis, they could barely afford the medication they needed to stay alive.

Eventually, a friend referred Henry to Alive Medical Services, a small clinic that had just opened up near Henry’s house. He has remained an active client ever since, returning again and again for treatment over the last 10 years.

“Without Alive, I wouldn’t have made it,” Henry said. “I’m healthier now than I’ve ever been, not just because I get free ARVs, but because I get free treatment of opportunistic infections too.”

After his health stabilized, Henry was able to recommit himself to his children, all of whom are HIV negative. Henry worked constantly to earn enough money for school fees. Because of that, his first three children now have families of their own – and his youngest son, Richard, just recently finished his degree. Richard now works as an electrician, and routinely accompanies his father to the clinic for check-ups.

“The counsellors at Alive helped me be strong for my children,” Henry said. “For any single fathers dealing with the same situation, I’d tell them this: push hard for your children.”

Thinking of his past, Henry recognized that often, men avoid HIV clinics. They don’t want to be seen there, he said, but they need to be more open to the idea.

“There’s nothing wrong with getting tested and treated,” Henry said. “It keeps you alive. Today, I’m proud to tell my story and show people how I’ve survived.”

Food, Education and Hope: The Nutrition Program at AMS

Twice a month, food is laid outside the doors of AMS. As the clinic swells with patients, doctors walk from left to right, spreading nutrition information. One by one, AMS’ community health workers call out clients’ names, all of whom have been previously measured for severe food insecurity. After nurses assess their health status, each client receives seven kilograms of rice, seven kilograms of beans, two kilograms of sugar, and a bag of fresh vegetables.

One of those clients is Esther, a 35-year-old HIV-positive mother and a patient at AMS. Esther’s partner left her a year ago, making it nearly impossible to juggle her job – selling roasted meat alongside the roads of Kampala – with the care of her one-month-old baby, Sharidah, and two other children.

Without her partner’s support, Esther’s income dwindled; she could no longer afford to eat properly. Her breastmilk began to run out, causing Sharidah to lose weight drastically and rapidly.

“At one point, my children would wake up every morning with no food on the table,” Esther said. “Sharidah was so weak, and so was I. I didn’t know what to do.”

On her next visit, AMS staff took note of Sharidah’s weight loss. AMS enrolled the family in AMS’ food program, and started the baby on food aid. At the same time, AMS educated Esther on proper infant feeding practices.

In the four months since then, Sharidah’s health has greatly improved: she’s gained nearly four kilograms, and smiles and laughs easily. She’s even built up enough strength to stand and walk on her own.

Once Sharidah’s weight stabilizes, AMS will phase the family out of the food program. Regardless, we will continue to support them through other initiatives. AMS engages more than 300 HIV positive clients in our gardening program, for example, which is made up of 18 different clubs. By teaching clients how to plant, grow, harvest and sell their own crops, we help clients raise their incomes (and eat healthy food) in a sustainable way.

“Because of AMS, I have high hopes for the future,” Esther said. “HIV – and my other challenges – cannot bring me down.”

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.”