“We realised the people in Makidye division especially slum dwellers suffer from many common illnesses because they cannot afford and access treatment."
PIC: People receiving free medical services at St John the Baptist Primary School, Kikubamutwe in Kabalagala. (Credit: Paul Kiwuuwa)
KAMPALA - Hundreds of residents of Kabalagala, Kikubamutwe, a Kampala suburb, received free screening and treatment of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
The free treatment was offered by International Medical Foundation (IMF), a charity organisation and it targetted mainly slum dwellers, who cannot afford treatment from many health centres and hospitals.
IMF partnered with other organisation, including 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation, ABI Clinic, Barefoot Law and Chapter Four Uganda to also offer free legal services to the indigent people in the community at the St. John Baptist Primary School playground.
One resident who did not want to be named said: "I developed persistent cough for two months. I sweated a lot at night, lost weight and appetite. Although I had taken painkillers, I did not improve. My friend then told me to go for a tuberculosis test."
"When my results returned positive for TB, I did not panic because the medical doctors counseled me well and assured me that TB cures when I take the medicine as prescribed," Kikubamutwe Zone A resident said.
He said IMF gave him free medical treatment to last months, adding that they will monitor his health.
A mother, who also preferred anonymity, said: “Recently when I tested positive for HIV at Kampala Capital City Authority Kisenyi clinic, I was not sure where to get ARVs near my residence. I am happy that IMF of Namuwongo has assured me of a constant supply of ARVs," she said.
"Also, I have had malaria for two months because I could not afford adequate treatment. I am happy I have received medication and my children have also been treated for a skin rash,” she said.
Dr. Ian Clark, a director at IMF, said they offered free healthcare services and treatment to the low-income residents of Kabalagala and neighbouring areas as part of their corporate social responsibility.
“We realised the people in Makidye division, especially slum dwellers, suffer from many common illnesses because they cannot afford and access treatment. Besides, majority lack knowledge on proper hygiene," he said.
Clark said the organisation will conduct free monthly medical outreaches in Kampala.
Ruth Ssegawa, IMF co-ordinator, said the project is in response to the big number of HIV and TB patients in the country. “Half of all HIV/AIDS positive patients in Uganda also have TB."
Ssegawa said it is important to have a project that treats both diseases and reaches the residents on the ground.
Dr Victor Ogik, a specialist in reproductive health at Kawempe General Referral Hospital, who examined patients, said many people received antenatal services, malaria, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, skin disorders, colds and coughs, among others.
The medical personnel provided free de-worming services to children, health education on prevention of disease, first aid, testing for Human Papillomavirus Vaccine, free Hepatitis B testing, vaccination for malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, common cough, influenza, skin treatment, child nutrition and blood donation conducted by Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS).
The people that tested positive for Hepatitis B virus got medical treatment immunisation at a subsidised fee by ABI clinic.