Scaling Up Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention Interventions in Rural Communities of Mbarara and Isingiro Districts (SUCHAPI-PROJECT).Collins Mann
Mbarara and Isingiro Districts are located in south western Uganda. These are one of the districts in Uganda with high HIV prevalence rates. Western region is also one of those regions in Uganda with inadequate access to HIV/AIDS services.
Most of the population in the region (about 65%) is located in rural areas/hard to reach areas where there is inadequate access to HIV related services and yet there is a high HIV infection rate.
- Most of the pastoral communities in the region have not been reached with HIV related services and this has led to the death of many able bodied/energetic men and women who have been practicing agriculture and farming activities which has hindered such economic activities causing increased levels of famine and poverty. Most of the youths in the region are schools drop outs and they know little about HIV hence they have continuously contracted HIV due to low levels of awareness.
- Because of the high levels of poverty, many youths girls and young women have continued to engage themselves in commercial sex activities in order to earn little money for survival/ living, many young girls are engaged in cross-generation sex activities (where young girls practice commercial sex with old men), getting married at an early ages of 13-17 years. All such activities have accelerated the rate of HIV infection in the region.
- In the same region, the adults are also lacking adequate knowledge on HIV transmission and prevention strategies hence this project will work to extend HIV awareness, prevention and control strategies to both teenagers, youths and old people in order to combat it in the region.
Objectives of the project
- To reduce on mother to child HIV Transmission in the sixteen (16) sub-counties of Mbarara and Isingiro Districts.
- To increase on access to community Based HIV Counseling and Testing (CBVCT) services in Mbarara and Isingiro Districts focusing more on the rural communities.
- To promote safer sexual behaviors among the sexually active youths, women and men and the high at risk groups in Mbarara and Isingiro Districts.
Outcomes of the project
- 1200 Mothers were trained and given information about Elimination of mother –to-Child HIV transmission (EMTCT). This was done to reduce on the high numbers of HIV positive newly born babies in Isingiro and Mbarara District.
Lack of information about EMTCT knowledge and services has accelerated the spread of HIV to new born babies hence generating a generation HIV positive children. Rural mothers in these districts needed comprehensive training in order to curb this problem.
- 1000 rural community members were also reached with Home Based Voluntary Counseling and Testing (HBVCT) services. This was done to extend HIV testing services to those in hard to reach areas where the populations are vulnerable to contracting HIV and where HIV testing services are hard to get.
- 223 married couples were also reached and trained to train other people in their communities about being faithful to their spouses and also to encourage other community members and members of their households to test for HIV and get to know their HIV status early.
- 1000 in and out of school youth were reached with HIV transmission information and prevention strategies. Youth in Mbarara and Isingiro districts lacked adequate information about HIV/AIDS and they have continued to contract HIV which caused the raising of HIV prevalence rates in the two Districts.