The program was initiated to enable HIV/AIDS patients to access ARVs. However some patients are not receiving treatment from their homes because of lack of adequate funds and the poor roads. The patients are now forced to travel long distances to access treatment.
However, the program is facing numerous challenges ranging from lack of funds to poor roads to enable the volunteers reach out to the patients in a district where the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate stands at 13%. According to statistics at the district health department, more than 600 patients are benefitting from the program.
In Rwimi Sub County, Gertrude Mugenyi a patient says that in the past two months the volunteers haven’t delivered ARVs to her home, which has forced her to get the drugs from nearby health centers. Mugenyi says that sometimes, the health centers lack the ARVs, which her and other patients to travel a long distance to the referral hospital in Fort Portal. She says that because of her poor health, she often feels weak to travel to the health facility.
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Naome Namara, the chairperson National Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS-NACWOLA Kabarole branch says the district should address the challenges. Namara says that patients prefer to be treated at home rather than go to health facilities citing stigma. David Mugenyi, a health volunteer says that they are finding difficulties reaching patients’ homes because of the bad roads. He says the bicycles they were given to easy their movement are weak and often breakdown because of the bad roads.
Gerald Musinguzi, the Kabarole district HIV/AIDS focal person says they lack adequate funds for the program. He explains that the funds are required to pay the volunteers since funds allocated to the health sector are inadequate. He says the district is seeking for assistance from the Ministry of Health and other partners to fund the program.
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The program has been hailed as an effective way to achieve good adherence and response to antiretroviral therapy in rural areas. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, access to anti retroviral therapy is expanding in resource-limited areas, where high transport costs prevent many of those in need from getting to health facilities to receive treatment.