Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The AIDS Support Organization (TASO)

Today, the students got the amazing opportunity to visit the largest AIDS focused organization in Uganda. From the very start, our two guides, Madam Patience and Miss Claire, greeted us for the day. In addition, all of the TASO patients waiting outside of the clinic gave us a round of applause and a welcoming that was a great representation of the Ugandan hospitality we have experienced here. Even with a very busy day, we were able to tour around the facility and talk with counselors, doctors, information managers, and others involved with the organization. This provided a great opportunity to many of those studying topics related to healthcare/AIDS while in Uganda and allowed time for questions involving their operations at TASO. We were also lucky enough to be able to listen to one of the performance troupes that TASO uses to educate the population. These performers are currently “living positively with AIDS” and after performing shared their personal stories about life with AIDS. With all of our experiences in mind at TASO today, will TASO be able to support the growing number of patients (about 30 new per day, three times per week) given the current facilities and services offered? While they have certainly had an impact on HIV/AIDS stigma and treatment, what kind of programs could TASO offer in the future to ensure the success of the program? A final note for this post: remember to be correct and consistent in your use!

7 comments:

  1. I believe that TASO will be able to support the growing number of patients who have HIV because the amount of people infected by HIV has declined by about 1% recently. Even though this is not a significant amount, the fact that the amount of people who have HIV is not increasing should mean that TASO will be able to keep up with the new patients. The counselors discussed that patients there would come less often as they began to get better, which should provide the opportunity for new patients to receive treatment. If the amount of new patients increases, that may threaten TASO's ability to serve everyone who needs treatment. I think one thing they could do to reduce stigma is to introduce HIV to younger kids (younger than adolescents) because it would get them thinking about HIV as something that does not have to be stigmatized against.

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  2. Financially, yes, TASO will be able to support these new patients will aid coming from there sponsors like CDC; however, it seems to me like they will have to either expand their Mulago site as well as there 11 other sites or build more across the country. While we were at the clinic, there was the extremely long line of patients outside the doors and also very crowded hallways as people waited to be called into the offices. There current struggle is having enough computers and staff to enter information so adding an additional 90 patients to the system maybe very tricky. I think it would be smart for TASO to have some programs in which there are days that families come together with their children and discuss what HIV/AIDS is and speak openly about the disease so that the disease is just something that these children grow up knowing.

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  3. I fear that TASO is not going to be able to keep up with the additional patients. When entering, we saw about 30 people waiting outside for space just in the waiting area. Even though people with HIV is declining, I still feel as if TASO will continue to get more and more new patients as they become more well known across villages. I do agree, I think HIV awareness needs to start at a younger age. However, the speaker made a good point that teaching a young child about HIV is difficult and they wouldn't understand. I think another thing that would help is if TASO traveled to more rural villages to spread more awareness and help treat them. They say people know about them, but I worry that not everyone who possibly has HIV cannot make it to any of the clinics.

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  4. I would agree with Micha. I hope that the people living with HIV/AIDS get the treatment they need, but this may not be possible all from TASO. The facilities that they have right now will not be enough space to all of the new patients, meaning that eventually TASO will have to expand. I think that TASO should explained out all over the country of Uganda, making education of HIV/AIDS more of a success. As of right now, TASO is doing a great job with helping all of the patients live a successful live with HIV/AIDS. I can't wait to see what TASO does in the near future.

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  5. I know my comment won't answer any of Drew's questions. But i would just like to say that it surprised me that the speaker from the drama group valued education so much that she put her life on the line to get school fees. I think that i took education for granted some days saying that i didn't want to school or i was bored. This student went through great lengths to try to get a education. No one should have to ever go through that experience. I think that the education programs at taso are important and should be expanded/continued.

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  6. Good questions Drew! And thank you for the reminder. I think an interesting aspect of TASO's sustainability is that AIDs in Uganda is declining, so even though the number of patients is increasing eventually this increase should curve off and hopefully help TASO be able to manage all of its patients even with its currently slightly overwhelmed facility. Without this decline I think TASO could become overwhelmed not only at their Mulago site but other sites as well.

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  7. Reflecting on TASO, I believe they will be able to continue servicing new patients financially with the support of US and Uganda funding. However, like many people stated, I do not think they are going to be able to physically house these people, so they will wither have to add additional buildings at the Kampala/Mulago site, or possibly add more sites throughout the country. To be honest, TASO was extremely impressive and it made me feel great that there are FREE treatment centers that offer timely healthcare. As others stated, the number of people with the virus is decreasing due to the government's and TASO's efforts already! I think if TASO created more free locations for the drama group to visit, there would be even more great information given out that would greatly improve the efforts of this organization and TASO as a whole.

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