Times can fly indeed. 20 years ago in 2001, Reach Out Mbuya Community Health Initiative (ROM) started its long journey of supporting the urban poor, especially those living with HIV/AIDS access quality health care.
This year ROM will be celebrating these milestones as we mark 20 years of dedicated service.
ROM, a Faith-Based Non-Governmental Organisation has served nearly 10,000 clients living with HIV/AIDs around Kampala suburbs, Wakiso and scores of surrounding districts in Central Uganda.
Over the 20 years, ROM has put in place robust community health care support for thousands, providing them with psychosocial support. ROM’s holistic approach has enabled the provision of “the whole person”, leading to the support of the needs of the body, mind, family and community.
The Organisation has grown tremendously to provide a scope of services in HIV/AIDS care, Non-communicable diseases treatment and screening, economic empowerment for the youth and grandmothers, education support to Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Gender-Based Violence prevention and response interventions.
Progress over the years;
Under the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
NCDs are rapidly increasing, accounting for 35% of the country’s deaths. Most individuals with an NCD in Uganda are neither aware of their status or the risk factors. As of today, 426 of our clients suffer from an NCD. With the majority, 322 suffering from hypertension, 180 with diabetes, 2 have cervical cancer and 2 have breast cancer. These are continuously monitored by our medical team to ensure they receive the appropriate treatment.
HIV/care and treatment
Currently, ROM has 7,700 clients in care. 324 children 546 youth and 6,830 adults. Of the 6830, 2,723 are men and 4,977 are women. These are monitored frequently by our Community ART and TB Treatment Supporters (CATTS) to ensure they take their medicine as prescribed and to keep their viral load low and CD4 cell count high.
Roving Clinicians- In partnership with private-public facilities like Malcom Health center, ROM can enroll newly diagnosed clients with test and treat services to meet the UNAIDS 95,95,95 target.
Grandmothers project under Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF)
The grandmothers’ project implemented in Kasaala, Luweero district and Kampala aims to improve the well-being of grandmothers and their households. In 2020, ROM supported 105 grandmothers with medical care, 30 households benefited from food support and 200 grandmothers received practical entrepreneurship sessions that equipped them with the skills to become better managers. Also, 2 grandmothers received shelter.
Orphans and Vulnerable Children education support
ROM has 1,862 OVC beneficiaries and 501 caregivers are under the project. 29 existed of these, (9 are in vocational training, 7 are out of the age bracket. 2 OVC were lost to follow up due to relocation, 8 were present but not served and 3 relocated due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV.
Comprehensive Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) program at ROM includes; prevention and counseling, medical treatment, and follow-up of pregnant and lactating mothers. In 2019, 90% of PMTCT mothers had suppressed viral load due to the PMTCT counseling offered by mother-to-mother, peers and CATTS. As of 2021 transmission to infants born to HIV-positive mothers is 0%.
Point of Care – ROM transitioned to UgandaEMR and from Uganda EMR to Point of Care. UgandaEMR mobile Application makes it possible to capture data from the community with just an android phone.
- Improved viral load suppression to 90%
- Very few AIDS cases among ROM clients
- 0 Mother to Child Transmission of HIV Differentiated service delivery models (DSDM). The model was adopted to decongest facilities and provide an extended number of drugs for adhering clients. In March 2017, ROM adapted a Community-Based ART Delivery (CBAD) Model which enables PLHIV (who are enrolled as clients at ROM and are clinically stable) to obtain their antiretroviral (ARV) refills at the Community Drug Distribution Points (CDDP) chosen by the clients within their communities. The project improved the quality of care and management of HIV/AIDS services with the mentorship of RICE WN in Arua District.
Snapshot from where we came to where we are today;
ROM clinics on sites before structures
In 2020 ROM widened her scope to address Non-Communicable Diseases
A Laboratory Assistant screening a patient for sugar diabetes