AFRICAN COMMUNITY CENTER FOR SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY (ACCESS) IMPACT AND RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Every year, ACCESS focuses its attention on improving the activities in the areas of support for orphans and other vulnerable children (OVCs), medical care, education, Nursing and Midwifery training, family planning provision, Innovative and, Implementation research, global health exchanges, and human resource development.

ACCESS comprises of seven (7) department whose mandate is to work within the organization strategies to enable the organization achieve its mission and vision, the organization’s departments include; (i) Community department with the project such as Dreamgirl project, Preschool project, Elderly (Jajja) project, Nano finance project, water project, and Lighting project, (ii) International coordination and engagements, (iii) ACCESS data Management (iv) Finance department, (v) ACCESS Lifecare Clinic this includes projects such as family planning project and Noncommunicable diseases (NCD) Project, (vi) ACCESS School of Nursing and Midwifery (vii) Project and Administration. It is through these departments that the organization implements its research projects, implementation research projects, and other programs.

Like many other organizations, the outbreak of COVID – 19 pandemic disrupted the scheduled annual work plans for the organization. The national precautionary measures that targeted to curb the spread of the virus such as total lockdown of community activities, suspension of both inland and international travels, halting of school activities, and the total lockdown of the entire country by the president of the Republic of Uganda disproportionately affected the organization.

Following the national interim guideline for sustained delivery of essential health services in the context of COVID – 19 issued by the Ministry of Health Uganda, the organization managed to maintain delivery of both static and community health services working with Nakaseke district authorities. The ACCESS Lifecare clinic continued providing services to people in the community while observing all the necessary precautions. Our community health team were trained and equipped to manage the spread of the virus and were at the forefront working with ACCESS and Nakaseke district COVID – 19 taskforces to deliver community services that included community education about COVID – 19, distribution of COVID – 19 IEC materials and delivery of family planning services.

During this devastating period, the organization managed to continue supporting 500 OVCs, 50 elderly people, 275 nursing and midwifery students, 63 preschool children, supported 105 women, conducted 1,188 laboratory tests, 1080 immunization visits, and our clinic registered 16,847 patient visits including family planning clients and continued with the construction of the preschool block. In a bid to keep the ACCESS supported children with learning activities during the pandemic, we managed to distribute 84 radio sets to homes with students to access radio learning. We distributed food packages to 100 homes and provided fast-growing vegetable seedling to 60 families.

COVID – 19 Response

ACCESS Staff in COVID – 19 Preparedness Meeting

With 889 cases in Uganda by 30th June 2020, COVID 19 is posing a threat to Uganda’s health system, delivery of essential health services, and the wellbeing of our communities. ACCESS advocated for essential actions at district and community levels to save lives. We were proactive in shaping our response based on current best practices from the World Health Organization and the Uganda Ministry of Health.

Our response is focused on the following goals; protecting health workers, interrupting the spread of the virus, maintaining essential health services, and shielding the most vulnerable from socioeconomic shocks.

District Response

  1. ACCESS worked with Nakaseke district taskforce and supplied personal protective equipment (PPE) to 100 community health workers that helped to educate and distribute 7,838 Information educational and communication (IEC) materials through the house to house visit in the community. During the period of total lockdown, our trained community health workers (CHWs) distributed 18,141 condoms, 435 pills, 3,576 injectables and referred 2,078 women for long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) and 18 women and men on permanent family planning (FP) methods that included 14 female sterilization and 4 male sterilization services which helped to reduce unplanned pregnancies and subsequently reducing the likelihood of violence in the community.
  2. We supported the office of district health educator (DHE) to communicate COVID -19 guidelines and precautions to the public through the weekly radio talks (12) and aggregate feedback from the public through our toll-free number and community health workers. Over 200,000 people from the area of the great Luweero triangle were reached with the messages.

Community Response

Community team organizing to distribute food packages
  1. We trained and provided personal protective equipment (PPE) to our health workers who were tasked with supporting screening at the facility and conducting community – based rapid testing once permitted.
  2. We spearheaded the distribution of facemasks to our beneficiaries and sensitization on COVID – 19 safety precautions and good handwashing habits.
  3. We distributed food packages to our vulnerable beneficiaries whose business closed due to the lockdown.
  4. ACCESS enabled orphans and other vulnerable children to continue learning through the provision of radio sets to families that lacked them so that they can access the national radio learning.
  5. We introduced and trained home gardening to families to promote the nutrition of children and the elderly in the community.
  6. ACCESS procured bulk quantities of medicines, sundries, and other commodities to maintain our medical stock and support lower partner health facilities in times of need.
  7. We conducted radio presentations and phone calls communication about COVID – 19 safety precaution to our beneficiaries and community health teams.
Home Vegetable Growing

Our impact in the area of economic empowerment

At the beginning of the year 2020, a total of 105 women were given nano finance funds and 105 businesses were started by these vulnerable women in the community, during the lockdown all finance mentorship and the weekly loan repayment collections were halted until when the business attain momentum. Eleven percent (12) of the women’s business closed during the lockdown. Among the closed business; 7 were small scale vendors, 3 were salons, and 2 bar-business.

Ten percent (10) of the women’s businesses were repurposed from the activities that were closed to other operational businesses in the community. Seventy-nine percent (83) of the women’s businesses continued operating with the initially registered business. These were operating within the national guidelines.

The pandemic had obvious and immediate effects on our community members and their families. For example, at the end of Q4 in 2019, 98% (49) of the women provided with nano finance were eating three meals a day, but by Q2 2020, the percentage of households eating three meals a day had dropped to 18% (19) households among the women benefiting from the nano finance. This was brought about by COVID – 19 pandemic and its associated impact on the rural poor who leaves on hand to mouth.

Our impact in the area of education

Preschool home schooling

All Ugandan schools were closed until further notice as a measure to curb the spread of coronavirus in the community. ACCESS being an organization whose backbone is to support orphans and other vulnerable children (OVCs) attain quality education as well as training of nurses and midwives, we were driven to developing innovative ways to ensure that our children keep engaged and learning remotely during this devastating period.

ACCESS School of Nursing and Midwifery

We worked with all tutors from ACCESS School of Nursing and Midwifery to compile notes for our 275 students, the notes were shared on one email whose password was known to each student and can log in to access notes at their own time, a WhatsApp group was formed for the students to ask questions and receive a real-time response from the tutor. We are currently trying to use online meeting application like zoom to hold classes with real classroom feeling. This is still limited by the technological challenges faced by both the students and some tutors. This remote learning will enable tutors to cover the semester’s syllabus and also keep students engaged and learning.

Preschool children and Orphans and other vulnerable children

  1. The organization managed to procure and distributed 84 radio sets to vulnerable children at home without radio sets so that they can access radio learning programs.
  2. Our social department works closely with village health teams (VHTs) who make phone calls to parents reminding them to allow children to listen to the radio provided or watch edutainment channels to keep them engaged.
  3. 500 orphans and other vulnerable children (OVCs) acquired scholastic materials including counseling from a social worker. Due to limited funding 47 OVCs are maintained on full school packages that include school fees, uniforms, shoes, and other scholastics.
  4. For our preschool children in the early childhood development program, we worked closely with their teachers to compile exercise for the children, the exercise is delivered by the teacher and the social workers who encourage the parent/guardians to spare time and help their children in doing the homework.
  5. Construction is underway for the early childhood block, ACCESS management in collaboration with Grace Promise are in the process of constructing a flat block that will be able to accommodate more than 150 children from the community.
Photo showing the construction of the preschool building

The dream girls’ program

  1. 30 at-risk girls can access vocational training and attain skills in hairdressing and tailoring. The program aims to prevent teen pregnancies.

Our impact in the area of medical care

ACCESS Lifecare Clinic triage in the tent

The ACCESS Lifecare clinic continued operating during these uncertain times, we have remained at the forefront of service provision in our community while protecting our health workers. As a centre of excellence, we are committed to providing a seamless continuity of care for our communities and standing as an example to other facilities in combating COVID – 19.

  1. At the gate entrance, we have a mandatory hand washing for all visitors entering and leaving the facility. We also have a mandatory temperature check conducted by a security personal using an infrared thermometer and from this point patients are screened in order to determine whether it is safe for a person to enter the clinical environment for non-COVID treatment
  2. The waiting area has been rearranged so as to ensure all patients waiting for care are at least 4 meters apart from each other.
  3. We also ensure that both our medical and non-medical staff have all necessary protective equipment and conduct daily spot checks to ensure consistent usage. We have also intensified handwashing and infection prevention control measures at the facility for both health care workers and patients.
  4. From march 2020, we have screened 865 individuals for COVID – 19 through using the ministry of health screening tool and temperature monitoring. Two cases were suspected and were referred to the Nakaseke hospital one of the national hubs for further investigations.
  5. By 30th June 2020, we had seen 16,847 patients at ACCESS Lifecare clinic which is a 9% increase in the total number of patients seen compared to this time last year. The increment is associated to the opening and equipping of the new ACCESS laboratory which has attracted community members to seek medical services from ACCESS Lifecare clinic.

We are very grateful to our partners and the board of directors for their timely support and guidance. We have seen our communities transformed. We have witnessed the power of unity in times of adversity and scarcity. We are sure that we will minimize the effects of the pandemic on the vulnerable people we serve.

 

JOB ADVERT FOR THE POSITION OF HUMAN RESOURCE OFFICER

Job Title: Human Resource Officer

Organization: African Community Center for Social Sustainability (ACCESS)

Duty Station: Nakaseke, Uganda

Job Reference: ACCESS/HRO/2020

About Us:

ACCESS is a community-based organization in Nakaseke district, Uganda founded on the belief that everyone has a right to a healthy life. We also believe that empowering community members through health and education creates lasting change that is owned by the entire community. We are engaging local leaders and cultivating new leaders through our programs focused on: Support for vulnerable 0primary school children and their families through income-generating projects, and subsidized school fees, Educational opportunities in healthcare for young adults at The Health Training Institute, Agricultural training in our demonstration garden, Access to clinical and community-based healthcare through our clinic and outreach programs using community health workers, Community based research to generate new scientific approaches to health-related challenges.

We pride ourselves on our culture of passion and dedication to our work. We accomplish our mission and vision through dedicated involvement from community volunteers and community health workers, the hard work of our staff, local and international partnerships

Job Summary:  The Human Resource Officer will provide proactive people development support services in accordance with the ACCESS Human Resource manual and implement the staff development initiatives and performance management system.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:  

  1. Initiate staff development initiatives in line with the Human Resource Development Strategy.
  2. Guide staff in career development and the development of individual personal development plans.
  3. Coordinate the Annual Staff Performance appraisal exercise in line with the Human Resource Manual and prepare the annual staff performance appraisal report.
  4. Prepare and regularly update the Staff Induction Manual and management of staff induction programs.
  5. Evaluate the Training programs of the organization so as to inform the subsequent training program designs and co-ordinate all professional development courses.
  6. Identify talent and come up with concrete proposals for talent management.
  7. Monitor probation periods and advise employees and managers in relation to this process.
  8. Any other Human Resource Development functions as may be assigned by the immediate supervisor from time to time.

Qualifications, Skills, and Experience:

  1. The applicant must hold a diploma or an Honours degree in Human Resource Management OR a diploma or a degree in Social work & Social Administration, Social Sciences, Humanities, or any other Human Resource related course.
  2. At least three years’ experience as a Human Resource Officer handling the development and management of human resource systems and procedures in a reputable organization.
  3. Proven background in developing and implementing the Human Resource Development Strategy.
  4. Experience in implementing modern performance management systems.
  5. Proficiency in Ms. Office packages.
  6. Knowledge of computerized Human Resource Management packages.
  7. Must possess good counseling and guidance skills.
  8. Paying attention to detail, high level analytical, and problem-solving skills.
  9. She/he must have the ability to lead a motivated team of professional and energized human resource base with a focus on a result-oriented based performance.
  10. Must be firm but polite in style; earns respect from 95% of the surrounding team members.
  11. Should possess excellent planning and organizational skills; Capacity to translate strategy into action and enable employees to know where they are going through the organizational and individual goals.
  12. Must be dependable, honest, and impeccable integrity. Should be passionate and have high energy drive with a balanced ego and the drive to achieve results.
  13. Ability to meet timelines
  14. Good analytical, planning, interpersonal, communication skills are essential.

How to Apply:

All qualified candidates should email their applications, CV, academic papers, and two recommendation letters, to ACCESS Managing Director on access.ugandanakaseke@gmail.com, kestherloy@gmail.com or hand deliver to our offices in Nakaseke.

For any inquiries please contact us by calling, Tel: +256-041-4667596, +256-782-348560

Deadline:  16th October 2020

 

DATA MANAGEMENT INTERVIEW

ACCESS – EKFS Data Manager Position Recruitment

ACCESS is a community-based organization in Nakaseke, Uganda founded on the belief that everyone has a right to a healthy life. We also believe that empowering community members through health and education creates lasting change that is owned by the entire community. We are engaging local leaders and cultivating new leaders through our programs focused on:

  1. Support for vulnerable primary school children and their families through income-generating projects, and subsidized school fees
  2. Educational opportunities in healthcare for young adults at The Health Training Institute
  3. Access to clinical and community-based healthcare through our clinic and outreach programs using community health workers
  4. Community-based research to generate new scientific approaches to health-related challenges.

 

The ACCESS-EKFS grant is a 3- year grant aimed at developing the research, clinical and educational capacity on NCDs in the rural areas of Nakaseke.

Due to COVID – 19 pandemic, we will conduct an online recruitment process and you have been selected as a potential candidate. You can download the dataset for the first recruitment process using the link below;

Download Data Manager Interview questions,

If you find any difficulties in downloading the dataset, contact Isaac Sekitoleko on Tel: +256701755373 Email: sekitolekoisaac7@gmail.com OR Ivan Weswa on Tel: +256751906332 Email: weswaivan@accessuganda.org

In the World With COVID-19:

What Africa Can Teach the World About Scarcity, Tragedy, and Uncertainty During the Pandemic: Part I

This post is written by Robert Kalyesubula, MD, Nephrologist, and Founder of the African Community Center for Social Sustainability (ACCESS)

It is often said that experience is the best teacher. Well, the COVID-19 epidemic presently ravaging the world could be a driver for reverse-learning. It is time that Africa and other resource-limited communities shared their long-learned experiences dealing with scarcity, high mortality rates, and uncertainty with the rest of the world.

                                                                                                                                  (more…)

ACCESS SCHOOL OF NURSING & MIDWIFERY-NAKASEKE, 2020 INTAKE

ACCESS school of Nursing and Midwifery- Nakaseke invites all legible candidates with Distinctions, Credits, and Passes in English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics at O’Level to apply for vacancies in Certificate in Nursing and Certificate in Midwifery. Interviews are on-going and application can be downloaded here and deliver it to the school or email it to emails below or obtained the application form from the school.

For more information contact;

ASNM Principal on

Tel: +256772472453

Email: sserubopete@gmail.com, serubombwepeter@accessuganda.org copy access.uganda.nakaseke@gmail.com

Or call

ASNM Deputy Principal on

Tel: +256774036460

Email: mary.turinabo@gmail.com, maryturinabo@accessuganda.org

Or

ASNM Administrator on

Tel: +256752950900, 0414667593

Email: ronaldkiyemba@yahoo.com, kiyembaronald@accessuganda.org

Or

Academic Registrar on

Tel: +256775546657 | +256702768184

Email: irenen33@gmail.com, nabbosairene@accessuganda.org

 DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORM HERE

 

 

2019 Annual Report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Founded on the premise that everyone has the right to a healthy life, the African Community Center for Social Sustainability (ACCESS) works with rural communities. Our mission is to work with vulnerable people in resource-limited settings through the provision of medical care, education, and economic empowerment to create long-lasting change that is owned by the entire community.

With continued support from our partners in 2019, we have been able to construct a 500-square-meter health facility that will accommodate ten beds and increase access to quality maternal and newborn care in Nakaseke. This year, we graduated our second and third cohorts of ninety-five nurses and midwives from the ACCESS School of Nursing and Midwifery (ASNM), as well as twenty-one students from our pre-school, which is currently attended by seventy children. We have embarked on the journey to construct a pre-school block that will accommodate about 200 children.

Meanwhile, we continue to support 450 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) to attain quality preschool, primary, secondary, and tertiary or university education. In the health sector, we have received 12,618 patient visits at our LifeCare Medical Center. We have implemented a community-based Community Health Worker (CHW) Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) screening program in three sub-counties in Nakaseke District. Through this program, over 4,000 Nakaseke residents were screened for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease while 770 NCD clients were recruited and received patient care in these three clinics. We have also continued providing family planning services. In fact, we distributed 107,767 free family planning services amounting to 42,634 Couple Years of Protection (CYP), a measure that estimates protection from pregnancy provided by contraceptive methods during a one-year period, making us the leading provider of quality family planning services in Nakaseke District.

Furthermore, we have set up numerous income-generating projects, among which include a goat farm and fish farm. These will be used as model farms for the Nakaseke community. We have also maintained our connection with the community through recruiting, training, supervising, and empowering 125 community health workers (CHW) who provide support to all ACCESS community projects. Our work continues to be recognized through both local and international awards.

This report brings to you our achievements and lessons learned in the areas of economic empowerment, medical care, and education in 2019.

JOB ADVERT FOR ACCESS MANAGING DIRECTOR

ADVERT FOR ACCESS MANAGING DIRECTOR

Background:

ACCESS is a community-based organization in Nakaseke, Uganda founded on the belief that everyone has a right to a healthy life. We also believe that empowering community members through health and education creates lasting change that is owned by the entire community. We are engaging local leaders and cultivating new leaders through our programs focused on:

  1. Support for vulnerable primary school children and their families through income-generating projects, and subsidized school fees
  2. Educational opportunities in healthcare for young adults at The Health Training Institute
  3. Agricultural training in our demonstration garden
  4. Access to clinical and community-based healthcare through our clinic and outreach programs using community health workers
  5. Community-based research to generate new scientific approaches to health-related challenges.

We pride ourselves on our culture of passion and dedication to our work. We accomplish our mission and vision through dedicated involvement from community volunteers and community health workers, the hard work of our staff, local and international partnerships

JOB TITLE: MANAGING DIRECTOR

Position Type: Contract

Report to: ACCESS President

Job Summary:

Responsible for supporting ACCESS in setting strategic direction and establish mechanisms for mobilization and optimum usage of resources, to ensure effective implementation of organizational programs

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Establish reliable Fundraising advocacy initiatives to ensure continuous growth and availability of funds
  2. Plan for the Organization and establish strong strategies for business growth to ensure continuity
  3. Establish strategies for  managing key Stakeholders and strategic  partners for ACCESS so as to build and sustain a good working relationship
  4. Develop and monitor the implementation of programs to improve the capacity, motivation, performance, and productivity of staff in the organization to enhance the quality of their service delivery
  5. Provide strategic Leadership and oversee the implementation of organizational programs to ensure continuous improvement in organizational performance and service delivery

Qualifications and Experience:

  1. A Bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Nursing, Social Work and Administration, Nutrition or Community psychology.
  2. A master’s degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, Public Health, Education Management, or a related field is added advantage.
  3. A minimum of 3 years of working experience in an administrative or management positions at a senior management level in a reputable non-profit organization.
  4. Specialized Training in Leadership
  5. Specialized training in Corporate Governance

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  1. A good track record of winning grants and generating income for running NGO/CBO programs in resource-limited settings is critical
  2. Experience in building and sustaining diplomatic partnerships and alliances
  3. Solid administrative knowledge and experience is critical
  4. Knowledge and experience in strategic planning and budgeting
  5. Excellent computer knowledge and skills
  6. Good planning and organizing skill
  7. Innovativeness, creativity, flexibility and networking capabilities
  8. Must be a person of unquestionable integrity
  9. The jobholders should express Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising acumen with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures
  10. A high degree of maturity that portrays the good image of ACCESS in all ways
  11. Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills
  12. Should have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  13. Should be quick at decision making
  14. Possess an admirable demeanor that influences behavior in a multi-disciplinary team
  15. Should be assertive and emotionally intelligent

HOW TO APPLY

Qualified candidates should email their applications, CV, academic transcripts, certificates and recommendation letters at least two, to access.ugandanakaseke@gmail.com and rkalyesubula@gmail.com or hand deliver these to our offices in Nakaseke.     

For any inquiries please contact us by calling, Tel: +256-041-4667596,  +256-782-348560

Deadline:  30th September  2020 at 5:00 pm

Please Note: Only Shortlisted candidates will be contacted

 

ACCESS EKFS-NCD Dissemination Workshop

The workshop over drew 50 participants with divers backgrounds and the sessions covered community based screening and management aspects in the field of hypertension, diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease.

Find Complete workshop report here

OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES OF KIDNEY DISEASE IN LMICS

Occupational and environmental causes of kidney diseases in LMICs: CKDu and toxicants

Guest Lecturer: Robert Kalyesubula, MD, MS as a Guest Lecturer

Date: 9th August 2019, John Hopkins Center for Global NCD Research and Training

 

Dr. Charles Holt’s Visit at ACCESS

Inauguration of ACCESS research block

Dr. Charles Holt’s visit at ACCESS was a privilege to us, we were happy to receive him again at ACCESS, he was extremely surprised how ACCESS has impacted the community through the work we are doing. Some of the ACCESS projects that Dr. Charles Holt visited included Dreamgirls project and the Jajja (Elderly) project. 

Dr. Charles Holt funded the construction of a research block at ACCESS when he visited, he inaugurated the building. The block will feature some administrative offices, research offices as well as the ACCESS president’s office.

Dr. Charles Holt also visited the ACCESS fishpond, this is one of the ACCESS income-generating activities. It was started to help generate income for ACCESS as well as being a model fishpond in Nakaseke District where community farmers, youths and students can gain fish farming skills.

Mr. Julius came with Dr. Charles Holt, Julius is enthusiastic about agriculture and has been able to transform his community through agriculture. ACCESS being a community organization, we want to work with Mr. Julius to transform Nakaseke through agriculture, we will help all our beneficiaries like the dream girls acquire farming skills, we will utilize the available land to grow crops, rear animals, poultry and beekeeping

Dr. Charles Holt was also able to visit the new ACCESS medical center, the 500 square meter facility will feature two inpatient wards, a labor and delivery suite, laboratory, phlebotomy, pharmacy, community health, exam room, and associated administrative offices and records rooms.

The project is a partnership between ACCESS, Grace Age Contractors, and the U.S. based Construction for Change. Construction began at the end of January and is scheduled for completion in September 2019. A project management team from Construction for Change has been working closely on site with Grace Age Contractors and ACCESS management, to help facilitate the construction process. 

The project has also provided an opportunity for local women in Nakaseke to receive basic training in construction skills and hopes to promote women in construction in the community.

Dr. Charles Holt’s visit ended with lunch at ACCESS with all the ACCESS staff.

 

 

Compiled by
Weswa Ivan
Projects and Administration Officer

Sense of Community: What Uganda Gave Me

ON JUNE
8, 2019
 BY UVM
ROBERT LARNER, M.D. COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
IN UGANDA

  Grace Herrick, Founder of Grace’s Promise Incorporated 

My dad is from California and my mom is Portuguese born in Mozambique. My mom’s stories always piqued my curiosity about the continent of Africa, a curiosity that continued to grow through high school as I frequently attended the WCHN global health evening sessions. In the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to go to Uganda for two weeks during which I shadowed doctors and nurses, visited an orphanage, and went to ACCESS in Nakaseke where I learned about the activities of this amazing organization and community.

I was particularly moved by the work ACCESS does with children and orphans. During one of our home visits, an elderly woman sang a beautiful and haunting song. I didn’t understand the words, but the emotions I felt were powerful. I felt fully present that day. There existed a feeling of community, a connectedness with one another in the villages we visited that is difficult to describe. In the U.S., we do not often see communities in which everyone treats one another with dignity and respect. I felt that I was witness to something important. I left ACCESS feeling like I had to be a part of that community in a permanent way. I started brainstorming about what I could offer that could have a lasting impact. After speaking with Dr. Robert and Estherloy, President and Founders of ACCESS, we came up with the idea of a preschool program, as that was something the community needed that I could work on remotely. We created a curriculum and opened a preschool program that started during my junior year of high school.

To help illustrate why Nakaseke made such an impression about me, let me tell you about my return to Uganda in July 2018. The morning we drove to visit the school during my next visit in 2018, we stopped at a street shop in Kampala to purchase candy for the children. The shop was small, packed with odd foods and nicknacks and one cashier crammed into the corner because space was so tight. The street was loud and bustling with people and cars, equally packed in, and I was with my sister and her friend. I stepped onto the street with feelings both familiar and strange. Shops and streets in the midst of people hustling about, just like midtown Manhattan. It was in the midst of this familiarity that I felt strange. Here I was with my sister and her friend, three American girls so out of place in a sea of people as to cause them to stop in their tracks to stare at us. How could something seemingly so familiar feel so strange? When I visit Boston or New York City, I feel like a stranger among strangers, and somehow that feels comfortable because no one cares. But in Kampala, I feel like a stranger among friends and neighbors, and it makes me feel alone – like a real stranger – while also feeling envious of a sense of community that doesn’t exist in any city in the US, not even my home Newtown. It is this irony of feeling like a stranger among friends in Uganda but a friend among strangers in the US that is so alienating.

Later, I arrived at ACCESS expecting that we would visit the school program and greet the children with the treats. Instead, they came running to greet us in their bright, electric colored polo shirts chanting “Welcome to ACCESS Preschool.” Their warmth, giggles, and bright eyes filled me with so much love that I burst into tears. We were then greeted by many other people, some familiar like Dr. Robert and Estherloy, and some new. Embracing them felt like coming home. We picked up exactly where we left off when I was 16.

There is something about the way Ugandans greet you that makes you feel immediately welcomed and cared for. They extend both their hands to shake yours, then hold your hand in theirs in a warm embrace while talking to you. They focus their eyes and attention on you as if you are the only person on the planet. It makes you feel safe and connected like the bond is as strong as a family. Never have I been greeted with such strong feelings. It is disarming.

The children continued running around us giggling, tugging on my dress and requesting my attention. Two grabbed my hands, one on either side and walked me with Dr. Robert to a Welcome Brunch. As we went around the large table introducing ourselves, I was struck by the passion and dedication with which community members help the preschool to run. Afterward, we walked to a tent set up with tiny brightly colored chairs where the children put on a show, full of life and infectious laughter. The end performance was a dance similar to the conga line dance where the little ones lined up and danced their way around. Eventually, everyone joined in, including Dr. Robert. It was a moment I wish I could have frozen in time. I spoke with parents about their day-to-day lives, their families, and their friends. They shared the impact the school has had, and the aspirations they have for their children. The stories they shared were intimate and moving with the familiarity of a friend.

Let me end by talking about Susan, as she perfectly represents what Uganda means to me. By my side throughout most of my days in Uganda, she refers to me as her daughter and herself as my African Mama. I am blessed to have another mother across the world. She plans our days precisely but is there to make it work when I want to go off the schedule. She is tough in the best way possible, even saying no to me, like, “No Grace, you cannot stick your head outside the van in the middle of Kampala with the streets filled like this!” Susan does this purely from her heart, her love of people, and her love of her home. And her home is not just her house, and not just country, but the entire global health-contingent who call upon her when visiting.

I decided to create my own individualized major in global health at UConn. One of the first papers I wrote on the subject was an attempt to understand why the US has undergone a reversal in life expectancy for the first time in its history when compared to other Global North nations. A group of Princeton economists noted that the reversal is largely due to three factors: opiate overdoses, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. They coined the term “deaths of despair” to describe this triad. As rich as we are in material goods, we are very poor in the community. Uganda, on the other hand, is rich in this most important commodity that comes freely. And a sense of community is what Uganda has given me.

Non-Communicable Diseases Emerging As A Real Enemy In Uganda? Doctors From Makerere University And Yale University Shed More Light

BY: ROBERT KALYESUBULA | MAY 20, 2019

One of the worst and most devastating outcomes of any treatment is death. Although death is inevitable, a lot can be learned from looking at the causes and trends of diseases in different places around the world.

Though when most people die it is obvious, the causes of death are not often well established. This leaves a big gap in the way health policymakers make decisions for resource allocation in the health sector. Much is known about infectious diseases like malaria, HIV-AIDS, and tuberculosis as the leading killers in sub-Saharan Africa. However, little is known about other causes of death.

Doctors from Yale University, USA, and, Makerere University, Uganda, undertook a four-year study to look at the leading causes of admissions and death in medical wards in Mulago National Referral Hospital, the biggest hospital in Uganda. They recruited a total of 50,624 patients admitted to the medical wards between January 2011 and December 2014. They noted that the majority of patients admitted were quite young, with an average age of 38 years, and were more likely to be females.

On further analysis, they found that up to 72% of the patients had a non-communicable disease (NCD) as the main reason for visiting the hospital. NCDs are diseases that are not directly transmissible but largely arise out of people growing older but more importantly from their lifestyle. It is well established that people who smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, or eat unhealthy foods (low in fruits, vegetables but high in fat), are more likely to suffer from these diseases. The same goes for people who are inactive or do little physical exercise. We have been aware that NCDs present a big problem in limited resource settings like Uganda. Patients often present late for medical care, yet the availability of advanced therapy is limited. This prompted doctors to look into this issue.

In this study, doctors noted that although infectious diseases still played a major part in bringing patients to hospitals, there was a general trend of an increase in admission due to diseases like high blood pressure, kidney disease, stroke, and cancer. Out of the 8,637 (17.1%) who died during hospitalization, the leading causes of death were non-tuberculosis pneumonia (28.8%), tuberculosis (26.8%), stroke (26.8%), and cancer (26.1%). Please note that some patients had more than one disease condition. People diagnosed with HIV-AIDS, those above 50 years of age, and those who were male had an increased risk of dying while in hospital.

Our study demonstrated an increasing trend of NCDs as a major cause of admissions over the 4-year period in the midst of an on-going problem of infectious diseases. Healthcare systems in sub-Saharan Africa need to be prepared for the dual burden of disease in order to avoid catastrophic mortalities.

At the individual level, people should not wait until they fall ill to seek medical advice. We recommend getting appropriate checkups for adults. It is recommended that, whenever possible, people should engage in regular physical exercise, which is required at least 4 times a week. They should consume food low in sugar and unsaturated fats. Take less salt in food and avoid the harmful use of alcohol and smoking. Making such practices routine in one’s life will help us to delay or even reverse the NCD epidemic which is now the leading cause of deaths around the world.

Please find more details here

Fundraiser to benefit underprivileged preschool children

Your invited to support our partner Grace’s Promise by attending a fundraiser to benefit underprivileged preschool children living in rural Nakaseke District in Uganda.

To donate online click here to know more about Grace’s Promise click here

The Miss ACCESS Scholarship Pageant

The Miss ACCESS Scholarship Pageant was  produced and hosted by Lanial Madden a Masters of Public Health student at Touro University California for the nursing and midwifery students at ACCESS school of Nursing and Midwifery (ASNM) in Nakaseke, Uganda.

These young women are currently students pursuing careers as healthcare professionals. They have been working extremely hard and studying for the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examinations Board ( UNMEB) exams. Upon completion of their programs they will obtain Certificates in Nursing and/or Certificates in Midwifery.

The purpose of the scholarship pageant was two-fold:

1) to provide financial assistance to aspiring nurses and midwives in the region, and

2) to build up confidence, affirm self-worth, and empower young women.

The Evening of the Miss ACCESS Scholarship Pageant took place on Friday, July 27th, 2018 at 5pm on the campus of ASNM, in Nakaseke, Uganda.  Scholarships were awarded at the conclusion of the event and the winners were announced.

Here are some of the photos from the evening of the event

 

Global Health Rotation in Uganda 2018

Theresa Ermer

Theresa Ermer is a German medical student from FAU. This May she spent a month at ACCESS in Nakaseke, Uganda as part of her clinical electives.

“ACCESS in Uganda does not only provide health care but promotes community development through a broad spectrum of projects.
Drs. James, Richard and Alex guided me and three American students through this very diverse rotation. At Nakaseke District Hospital, we saw patients in the ART (antiretroviral therapy) and NCD (non-communicable diseases) clinic, and assisted with deliveries on the labor ward and in the operating theater. On the wards we encountered and discussed many conditions that are much less common in Germany, such as malaria, HIV, cryptococcal meningitis, hepatitis, sickle cell disease and malnutrition. During a training on viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola, I even got to try on an Ebola protection suit.
Dr. James is the heart and soul of the Lifecare clinic at ACCESS. Through his extreme kindness and dedication towards his patients he really has become a role model for me. Through ACCESS we also got in contact with the village communities: we visited families whose children receive guidance and school materials through the OVC (orphans and vulnerable children) program, participated in a family planning outreach, helped to teach children in the preschool, and got to know the “Dream girls” – a group of HIV-negative girls in the villages who act as multiplicators in their communities. It was wonderful that we had had some lessons in the local language Luganda – even just saying a few words in my rudimentary Luganda really helped me connect with the people so much easier.
One of the most interesting parts of my time in Nakaseke, was being involved with teaching and training patients and community health workers in the context of a research project on NCDs funded by Else Kroener-Fresenius Stiftung. It was eye-opening to be faced with the concepts of disease inhabitants of rural Uganda have developed and it was sometimes challenging for me to find comprehensible answers to their questions. After this global health rotation in Uganda, I really understand the importance of epidemiological research on NCDs in developing countries as a basis to design treatment concepts adapted to the needs of the population.
I cannot thank the program and the people at ACCESS enough for all their kindness and dedication to the communities they serve and also to us visiting students. My time in Uganda did not only make a professional, but also a very personal impression on me. Weebale nnyo! – Thank you so much for teaching me and for opening up your hearts to let me be a part of the ACCESS family!”

Barcelo Community Pharmacy at ACCESS

INTRODUCTION

ACCESS UGANDA is a community based organisation though often working with government facilities. The management came to realize the needs of the people of Nakaseke District and amongst the list was the need for medical treatment including drug supply. BARCELO FOUNDATION, an organization based in Spain, decided to give a hand and facilitated us with sponsoring a Community Based Pharmacy which provide20160722_115455s access to drugs that are otherwise difficult to stock to the community.

The Pharmacy officially opened in October 2015 and it has so far been running for more than ten months. Every month, we receive and treat over one hundred clients on the outpatient basis who receive the services the pharmacy provides. The drugs are provided at very low cost to enable the community access to the most needed medicines which would have otherwise not been available within the community.

SERVICES OFFERED

The pharmacy is under the close supervision of the general clinic, though it can or seems like an entity on its own. It offers both whole and retail sale of drugs, health education to the community members as well as the clients that visit the clinic. In conjunction with the family planning clinic it has an outreach program. In the outreach package, the Pharmacy helps in the facilitating health education about contraceptive options.

health-education2BENEFICIARIES

Our community members can now get their required amount of drugs at affordable costs. Previously a patient or the attendant would travel to Kampala to acquire drugs prescribed, but now Barcelo Community Pharmacy is availing almost all drugs in all their kinds to the community members.

The Health Education talks sponsored by the Pharmacy are creating an impact to those that attend. These talks are general and are directed towards changing behaviour to improve the standards of living and health, education, social welfare and finance are the basic priorities. We would like to start on home visiting embarked with home care nursing to fully embrace ACCESS COMMUNITY COMPONENT, and this will need all our different programs, such as: support for orphans and vulnerable children, family planning outreach, and our Jaaja (elders) Project to sponsor and support this program.

APPRECIATION

On behalf of the Government of Uganda, community of Nakaseke, ACCESS-UGANDA, and on my own behalf, I take the honour to thank particularly FUNDACION BARCELO and Partners for ACCESS, and ACCESS-UGANDA under Dr Robert Kalyesubula, for the great enthusiastic work, love, care, mercy and grace they have for the community of Nakaseke, and Uganda as whole. I have no better heartfelt words to express how grateful we are but only to say thank, thank you so much. Amelia Fornes, Supervisor of African Region under FUNDACION BARCELO project FARMASOL, muchas gracias, te amos muchisimo, thank you again.

Compiled by;

MASEREKA ASINGYA

In-charge of Barcelo Pharmacy ,

Life Care Clinic

ACCESS UGANDA-NAKASEKE

Jaja Club in Nakaseke

Through their involvement in the community, Gabriel and Aida realized a lack of support for the elders living in Nakaseke. Many elderly people (jaja in Luganda) were living in poverty, social isolation and suffering from untreated health conditions. They found elders who were sleeping on the floor, some who had been neglected by their families, others who were widowed, and disabled. They recognized that many of the issue facing the jajas could be solved by interaction and support from one another.

Gabriel and Aida sprang into action to organize a gathering of Jajas at ACCESS. They used the ACCESS bus to collect individuals from all over Nakaseke, and brought them to ACCESS to share a meal, receive medical consultation and examination, and identify needs that ACCESS could address in their home settings.

The jaja were overjoyed to spend time with one another and be heard by those at ACCESS.

Today, Aida and Gabriel continue to work with the jaja through home visits, and support for basic needs (food, clothing, bedding, etc.) They are looking for more ways to support the jaja, and plan to bring them together at ACCESS again in the future to foster relationships and wellbeing among Nakaseke’s most vulnerable seniors.

 

Fundraiser in Nakaseke Raises $2000

In May, 2012, ACCESS invited the Nakaseke Community to come and support the new nursing school. People came in big numbers! 150-200 people came and celebrated with us, and showed their support by raising $2,000!

The day was filled with students, patients and staff sharing stories of ACCESS impact on their own lives and on the Nakseke Community.

Students, staff, volunteers, and neighbors brought gifts to contribute to the auction.

We were honored with the attendance of local government leaders, and visiting leaders from Kampala.

The students worked so hard to put on this event. Thanks to SAWA World for the video summary of the event.

Click here to view the video: ACCESS Fundraiser in Nakaseke Raises $2000

Help Train a New Generation of Nurses

 

The Problem:

Rural communities in Uganda are lacking access to health care due to a shortage of doctors and nurses.

Young men and women living in rural communities lack access to higher education.

The Solution:

ACCESS is building a Comprehensive Nursing School in Nakaseke, Uganda to help provide education and job opportunities in the rural healthcare system. This 3-year program will build a secure future for young people living in a rural area and provide crucial access to healthcare for the entire community.

Through the generous support of our partners and donors we have built a brand new classroom block, shipped a boxcar of medical and educational material, established our library and skills lab, and secured our compound with a perimeter fence. We are on our way to opening the doors of The Health Training Institute!

But we need your help. 95% of every dollar you give will go directly towards upgrading our existing community nurses’ aide program into a 3-year Accredited Nursing School.

Our nurses will make approximately $200/month. This money will send their siblings to school, provide for their families, and bring healthcare to the community. Even a small donation has the potential to transform the community!

Donate Now!

 

We Are Close!

In November, our team in Boston raised $16,000! That means we are well on our way to building the 3-year nursing program by March, 2013.

But we need your help!