For the past decade, Adara has had the great privilege of partnering with Aspen. It has been an amazing partnership, which has shown us all the exponential power of linking the business sector with those in need in the developing world. Together, we have bridged worlds, and changed lives for the people of Kiwoko Hospital.
Each year, staff members from Aspen offices across the globe come to Kiwoko Hospital to see firsthand the impact of this partnership. Every year, they leave inspired. Here is their experience.
By Kandy Roscoe
The day began with the very loud sound of mooing, apparently the mooing of the cow we will be eating on Fridays barbecue. A few of us headed down to morning prayers for the second day in a row (the locals sing hymns and then announce any marriages in the village). The atmosphere is amazing and I will be going every day until we leave Kiwoko hospital.
Today’s plan for us ambassadors was to learn about all about the HIV/AIDS programme that Adara supports here at Kiwoko hospital. At 9.30 we marched down to the HIV department to meet William and the rest of HIV Department, we were greeted with the Ugandan handshake. The next hour was spent listening to and learning about the HIV Programme in brief and also understanding the challenges Kiwoko hospital faces when it comes to handling clients with HIV.
The programme itself began in 2005, it is run by 20 members of staff and has treated a whopping 3551 clients. It has such a large presence in Kiwoko hospital that all wards now test for HIV. What amazed me was one particular element of the programme, a drug developed to be taken by a pregnant mother to reduce/eliminate the chances of HIV being transmitted to the baby. This drug is so successful in Kiwoko Hospital that within the past year the negative result when tested on a newborn baby is 100%! Meaning a possible generation of HIV negative children.
Above all this, it was fantastic to see the effects of Aspen’s partnership with Adara, just as an example a few of the activities supported by this partnership are free HIV treatment to positive clients, free nutrition programmes for those affected, help with school fees, stationery for all HIV/AIDS children and also a teens residential trip where HIV positive teens are taken away for a few days to relax and meet other positive teens. Of course Kiwoko Hospital stills faces many challenges. One major one being unstable funding, but nonetheless they have demonstrated that hard work and focusing on one goal really can make a difference.
The later morning was spent with the Afaayo club. This was without a doubt the best experience I have had in Kiwoko Hospital yet. We met around 100 HIV positive children and teens, and had the privilege to play multiple competitive games with them and also learn about their history. Every single child wanted to get involved, and some wouldn’t let go of our hands for hours. None of the ambassadors stopped smiling. It was a very hard goodbye. But lunch was calling.
Shortly after lunch we then met with HIV expert clients Kennith and Gladys. These are local people living with HIV. They raise awareness in the community about testing, prevention and support services offered by the hospital. I personally found this very challenging as they opened up about their personal stories and how they found out they were positive. They are very brave and inspiring people, and couldn’t thank Aspen and Adara enough for all the support they have been given throughout their time with HIV. We were thankful to hear their stories.
To round up the most fun, intense and eye opening day so far, we were challenged to a game of football with the hospitals team! Aspen and Adara split 50/50 with the Kiwoko team so the teams were mixed. In that sweltering sun, I can say for the first time I enjoyed the cold shower!