For People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) and Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)

Englisch (pdf-File)

Joanne Miya, Director

Uzima Centre Ilemela PO Box 2330 Mwanza, Tanzania

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Mobile Phone: 255-784-387852

In 1997, Maryknoll Sister Rosemary Milazzo began meeting with a group of women and soon realized that many of their struggles were related to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. A support group for those who were HIV + was started. Later it was expanded to include assistance for the orphans and other vulnerable children. Since 2006, I (Joanne Miya) have served as the director. What started as a few women meeting under a tree to discuss the challenges they faced has grown into what is now Uzima Centre. In 2005 a small building was constructed, consisting of an office, a meeting room, a storeroom and a room for medical services. We are located on the property of the Ilemela Catholic Church. Our centre is under the Health Department of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mwanza.

PLHA Program:
At Uzima Centre we required that all PLHA wishing to register with our program show that

they have been tested and are enrolled at an HIV/AIDS Clinic at one of the local hospitals, and that they come in with a support person of their choice – someone with whom they have been open about their HIV status and who lives close by and is willing to accompany them as needed. We have a registration form which clarifies the expectations of the PLHA, their caregiver, and the assistance provided by Uzima Centre. This registration process requires that every PLHA reveal their status to at least one person who is close to them, and it enables us to provide AIDS education to a broader number of people. We have over 300 registered PLHA. We assist with the following: medicine for opportunistic infections, bus fare to attend their monthly clinic at a local hospital, counseling, home visits, support groups, food assistance (based on need), and on-going education.

We have implemented a program called “Food by Prescription” whereby food is only given to those who meet certain criteria. All PLHA who are on ART receive beans and high protein flour on a monthly basis for one year. After completing one full year on ART they no longer qualify for food assistance since nearly all have regained adequate health to resume work and to support themselves. We ensure that they know the facts about

their condition and how best to maintain their health. They are then able to pass that education on to family and friends. With proper nutrition, medical care, and good life style choices, they will be able to remain productive members of society and to raise their children for many years to come. On-going training is given to all PLHA and their caregivers with an emphasis on adherence counseling and empowerment. All PLHA are expected to attend a monthly support group meeting. Currently we have 3 support groups for adults. Each group has their own elected leaders and plans their own agenda. The members take turns leading discussions and lessons during the meetings. Since government funding for HIV/AIDS has been channeled to local government sponsored loan programs to promote income generating activities, we encourage all of our clients to participate is such schemes. We try to ensure that all of our services are in line with the goals of the Tanzanian government for combating HIV/AIDS as well as in compliance with their recommendations.

Currently our staff is made up of 4 Tanzanians and 3 Americans (most of whom are part time):

1. Joanne Miya (director) – Maryknoll Lay Missionary (with 25 years of experience in Tanzania)

2. Gladness Masuruli (part-time medical officer) – Tanzanian who oversees all of our medical services

3. Renatus Magai (OVC coordinator) – Tanzanian who coordinates the OVC services

4. Sr. Celeste Derr – Maryknoll Sister who runs the after school tutoring program

5. Michele Otte – Maryknoll Lay Missioner who assists with tutoring and data entry

6-7 Sylicheria John and Deodatha Thomas – both Tanzanian nurses who work mostly with the PLHA program

There are 6 volunteers to do home visiting. We also have a Board of Directors.

Funding History:
In the early years of Uzima Centre funding was provided by the Maryknoll Sisters and their

personal donors. In 2005 we began receiving assistance from Catholic Relief Services – AID Relief Fund through the Archdiocese of Mwanza. This funding has continued but with cuts each year. Currently they are providing salaries for some of the staff working with PLHA and allowances for our 6 volunteers. They also offer limited help (15,000/= per month) for office supplies and some assistance with transportation for clients to attend clinic. A donor agency in the US has assisted us with $2,250 for the annual cost of assistance for our 30 HIV + children. Without increased funding we will have to further cut our assistance to PLHA. With the current global economic depression, we can no longer rely on individual donors, nor does this provide a secure funding base for the future of Uzima Centre.

Additional information

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