St. Francis Health Care Service was started in 1998 by Faustine Ngrambe, a former CSC novitiate, Ann Guloba, an HIV positive activist, a nurse, Ruth Nabirye and 2 counselors, all local Ugandans. Ann Guloba died 2 years later. This beginning was made possible by a donation of 10,000 Pound Sterling from Mercury Phoenix Trust, a British Charity founded by pop-star "Mercury" who died of AIDS in the early nineties.
In the beginning St. Francis served HIV-infected individuals in 2 districts near Jinja, Uganda with the following efforts: Provide quality medical treatment and psycho-social support through a home based care program Provide counseling to both the infected and affected. Address stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS at the community level. Address gender inequalities related to HIV/AIDS such as widow inheritance, vulnerability of women to HIV/AIDS, early teenage marriages of the girl child.
Promote HIV/AIDS prevention programs at community level Address the Orphans and Vulnerable Children crisis through, education support, i.e. vocational training of OVC's, income generating activities and providing mentorship to youth through "Shadow Idol" Program Sensitize the communities about the consequences of the relatives who grab widows and orphans property when the male parents die.
Since then we have grown tremendously including 38 fulltime staff, 175 volunteers, and 8 board members. Board members include two people living with HIV and members are elected by the annual assembly for a three-year term. Please visit our Staff page for a complete list of staff.
We regularly provide services for clients in five districts (Mukono, Kayunga, Mayuge, Kamuli and Kaliro) with a total population of nearly 2.5 million people, and due to our reputation, some patients come from as far away as Bugiri, Iganga, Mayuge, Kayunga, and even other districts in the eastern Uganda.
We are currently serving over 9,000 patients, 120 grannies, and 1,500 orphans. Funding for St. Francis Health Care Services has come from numerous donors over the years including: Mercury Phoenix Trust, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Development Cooperation Ireland (Irish Aid), Firelight Foundation USA , US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Stephen Lewis Foundation (Canada), Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Hope for Children Initiative, Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), International Council on Management of Populatinos Programmes (ICOMP), Programme for Accessible Health Communication and Education (PACE), Global Strategies for HIV Prevention, Children of Grace, and Friends of Reach Out Africa (FORO).
Programs and services offered at St. Francis include: Medical Care, Awareness and Sensitization, Voluntary Counseling and Testing, Support for Grannies (including income generating activiites), Shadow Idol Club (mentoring), and Omwana House (child rehabilitation).
To contribute efforts towards a world FREE of HIV Infection. OUR MISSION : 1) to prevent the further spread of HIV; 2) to mitigate the personal and community impact of AIDS through the provision of quality medical care, counseling, and education to the infected and the affected; 3) to improve access to HIV treatment, care and support; 4) to lessen the impact of HIV and AIDS, particularly among the most vulnerable and marginalized.
To build and strengthen the capacity of the community in HIV prevention and AIDS care so as to reduce the spread of HIV and to reduce the psycho-social effects brought by HIV/AIDS.
The lives of all human beings are of equal value. A person's vulnerability to HIV is increased by unequal power relations arising from economic poverty and social marginalization. Gender, religion, class, race, ethnicity, age, disability, drug use and sex work are all potential factors shaping unequal power relations, human rights abuses, and vulnerability. Everyone has the right to access the HIV information and services they need.
People have the right to full and accurate information as well as to comprehensive HIV prevention programs. Everyone has the right to access HIV care and treatment, and appropriate health and social services. This includes HIV treatment and palliative care for those with AIDS-defining illnesses. Accomplishments Out puts to date (May 2009) 9,000 People diagnosed with HIV (Clients) are registered and receiving Medical and Counseling services both at the Centre and home.
This is as a result of reduced stigma and discrimination in the Communities where we serve. Clients are willing to be visited at home. This was not heard of 10 years ago. 88,000 people have sought VCT since November 2001 (when we started keeping track).
This is another sign of reduced stigma. 6000 Non-HIV patients are using St. Francis Health Care Services for their medical care. That these patients will use the same facility formerly labeled an "AIDS Clinic" is a sign of reduced discrimination of Clients. 82% T.B cure rate among HIV positive patients.
2500 Clients are accessing antiretroviral treatment (ART) in collaboration with Joint Clinical Research Centre, 520 of them are Children. 40 Clients are involved in the music/drama group and are active in prevention music dance and drama activities at a weekly basis.
175 Community Counseling Aides volunteers trained and serving in their own communities. 75 teachers trained as HIV/AIDS counselors. 80 AIDS coordination committees established from the sub-county to the village level Sub-County AIDS Coordination Committee (SACC) Parish AIDS Coordination Committee (PACC) and Village AIDS Coordination Committee (VACC).
These structures have further broken the silence hence reducing stigma and discrimination in the communities (peer education). 1,200 orphans supported in school. 30 children in vocational training. 400 Shadow Idol Club members (~300 in weekly attendance). 4 Shadow Idol Club members have been admitted to public universities on Government Scholarship as a result of mentoring from the program.