People living with HIV/Aids in Kyejonjo are actively involved in monitoring the supply and use of ARV drugs in health units across the district through a network they formed last year. The network was formed following persistent cases of drug shortage, expiry of drugs in stores, misuse and sometimes theft of drugs in government health centers.
Under the network, the patients have voluntary informants and agents consisting of local residents and some health workers, who are stationed at health centre IIIs and Kyenjojo health centre IV. The informants help to monitor and report back about the supply of anti-retroviral drugs. After the drugs are delivered to the various health facilities, the informants notify the patients to go to the facilities for the drugs.
The agents also take part in counting the drugs that have been delivered to the facilities. Cliff Mukonyezi, the coordinator of the network says that by monitoring the supply and use of drugs, the Aids patients help avoid stock-outs that could pose a threat to their lives. He says that since the formation of the network, more patients can now easily access drugs.
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Lawrence Baguma, an Aids patient says that since the formation of the network, he has been able to get ARVs on time. He says that in the past, patients were ignorant of the presence of drugs at health centers and that whenever they went to inquire about drugs, they would be turned away by the health workers even when the drugs are available.
In addition to monitoring the delivery of drugs to health facilities, the agents also help to follow up on the Aids patients especially those living in the rural areas and encourage them to adhere to their medication.
Gertrude Kabagenyi, the chairperson of National Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS-NACWOLA, Kyejonjo branch says the agents move from home to home to raise the level of consciousness and fight stigma directed at the Aids patients by some community members.
She says as result, many people in the villages have started living with people with HIV/Aids. Steven Magezi, the Kyenjojo district HIV/Aids focal point person welcomes the formation of the network. He says that the network will help supplement the district’s interventions aimed at improving the health of the Aids infected persons as well as reducing the infections.