August 2nd, 2019
August Focus: Uganda
Our monthly focus for the month of August is on Uganda and our partners at PAORINHER. With the help of HART, Patongo Orphans Infants Health Rehabilitation (PAORINHER) was established and developed as a Centre for the care of orphans living with HIV in Uganda. As the infant orphans grew into young children, PAORINHER staff realised they needed education. Teaching began for these children in one classroom. Now, alongside the Health Care Programme at PAORINHER, a school has been established which has grown from those small beginnings to the provision of high-quality education for over 700 students. Now the Centre functions simultaneously as an orphanage and school and has brought about transformative change to people who would have otherwise been isolated and neglected.
The notorious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), known for their brutal killings, mutilations, abductions and forced recruitment of children, were active across northern Uganda for more than twenty years.
Two decades of conflict and mass displacement devastated northern Uganda, which continues to suffer from high poverty levels, high youth unemployment, gender inequality and a lack of access to basic services.
Although significant progress has been made in tackling poverty across Uganda, with the national poverty rate falling from 24.5% in 2009/10 to 19.7% in 2012/13 (Uganda Poverty Status Report 2014), the northern regions continue to lag far behind.
Poverty levels in the north have fallen slightly, from 46.2% in 2009/10 to 43.7% in 2012/13, but remain more than twice the national average. Access to healthcare and education is severely limited. There is a strong feeling in the north that they are neglected by the Government, and that aid donated for the north often fails to reach them.
Around Patongo in northern Uganda, where our partners are located, around 11% of the population are living with HIV, far higher than the national average of 7.2%. Many of the sufferers are orphaned children.
The Rehabilitation Centre
The Patongo Orphans Infants’ Health Rehabilitation Centre (PAORINHER) is a life-saving health clinic and psychosocial support centre for children with HIV with an on-site primary school.
The clinic provides a comprehensive range of clinical and social services to children living with HIV, including health screening, monitoring of drug use, treating infections, nutritional support and counselling. Between February and October 2014, the number of children receiving treatment and support for HIV rose from 215 to 371, 201 of whom are girls.
The Staff at PAORINHER conduct extensive outreach programmes to educate more people about the realities of HIV, promote the re-integration of previously ostracised families and identify individuals in need of their services. Their innovative methods include radio advertising, leafleting, establishing village health teams and even running sports days to engage young people from a wide area. There have seen significant improvements over the course of 2014, with more and more people coming out to be tested and to access treatment and support. A system of local community volunteers is to be established, in order to widen the outreach even further. Funding for their training is an important target in 2015/16.
The primary school at PAORINHER provides education to 250 girls and 266 boys, at least 10 percent of whom are living with HIV. This not only increases access to education in the wider community, but also helps to break down the stigma surrounding HIV. All of the children receive clinical checks, nutrition and sexual reproductive health education.
One of the aims of PAORINHER is to provide nutrition to vulnerable HIV infected children. The approach is now changing from providing food parcels to HIV positive children to family livelihood support – helping the most vulnerable families to produce their own food.
Check out our social media for more information about PAORINHER, their progress, and how you can help!
To donate to PAORINHER, click here.
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