We began the day with an early breakfast at MUBS. We then traveled to the Mulago branch of TASO, The AIDS Support Organization where we met Claire who was our guide for the morning. This is one of 11 TASO clinics, not including one training center/laboratory. Before we entered the clinic we saw the day care where children of clients can stay. Inside the day care there is a clinician that children can see when they are sick. We then entered the clinic and spoke with two of the counselors. The counseling services at TASO provide clients with advice on nutrition, family planning, and information on AIDS medicine and its side effects. Those services are provided for clients who are able to come to the clinic for regular appointments. Counselors also have the duty of delivering medicine to clients who cannot get to the clinic. They are given a dispensing list with a patients contact information and the regiment they are on. Currently there are 4 regiments that clients can be on depending on their conditions.
We then proceeded to the entrance of the clinic. When clients enter, they are greeted by expert clients. Expert clients are in charge of checking in the clients and bringing them to their appointments. There is a resting room available for the clients that are not able to wait due to illness. In addition, they give health talks every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We then moved down the hall to speak to the medical coordinator. He explained the procedure that most clients go through when they come to the clinic. Clients are always tested for HIV/AIDS when they come, even if they have already been tested elsewhere. This insures that clients get results that are known to be reliable. In addition, they must take a baseline survey and receive an evaluation of their organs. Booklets are given to each client to keep track of their medical history, goals and appointments.
The director of the clinic proceeded to greet us as we sat down to watch a performance by the Mulago Drummer Group. This group was formed by TASO clients who wanted to give back to the clinic. The Mulago Drummer Group educates communities and schools on HIV/AIDS through song and drama. Gurtrude, one of the group members, then shared her AIDS story. Through TASO she was able to have two HIV negative children with her husband. All of the group members had beautiful voices and seemed very passionate about educating Ugandans. Their performance and stories were very inspirational for many of the Drake and MUBS students.
Fellow Explorers of Uganda-
Do you think performances by the Mulago Drummer Group are an effective way of educating people on HIV and AIDS? Why or why not?
Did you learn anything new about HIV/AIDS during our visit?