Tarapkwe Juliet is a member of Pakele Women’s Association (P.A.W.A.) in Ataabo, a parish in Pakele sub-county in Adjumani district. P.A.W.A was formed in 1997 with a membership of 30 women and was registered in both the sub-county and district in 2013. Their main activities are enhancing HIV awareness among community members; promoting moral behavior change especially among women; and environmental protection through raising tree seedlings. P.A.W.A was selected by ACORD under the DGF-funded project to reach out to the community members in Pakele sub-county through civic education. Juliet was among the 25 persons selected from her group and trained in interactive drama. She has also participated in other civic education activities such as sensitization sessions, dialogue meetings and baraza (community) meetings.
Tarapkwe Juliet of PAWA making a point during a baraza
Juliet is living with HIV and is on anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment.
“Before, we used to get drugs from Adjumani hospital, but later we were relocated to access treatment from Pakele Health Centre III which is nearer to us.”
Upon transfer to Pakele Health Centre III, she realized that services were poor.
“We were not being adequately attended to, drugs were normally out of stock with no suitable explanation given and most of the medical personnel were rude to HIV patients.” Within this period, her health deteriorated since she was not taking medicine on schedule. “Many of my fellow patients stopped taking treatment due to frustration,” she explained.
During a baraza organized by ACORD at Pakele sub-county headquarters in April this year, Juliet finally got the chance to express her complaints. She requested the staff in-charge of Health Centre III to take them back to Adjumani Hospital where they were treated humanely. “Why are you treating us like worthless people? Do you want us to die due to lack of proper medical care?” She was assured that the matter would be looked into and necessary improvements would be made.
A month later, when Juliet went to Pakele Health Centre III, she noticed some positive changes. “A specific room within the health facility and a medical worker had been allocated to attend to HIV patients. Even some of my colleagues who had abandoned treatment are being followed up by the Village Health Teams and many have resumed medication.”
Since then, Juliet has been accessing ARV treatment on schedule. She is grateful to Pakele Health Centre for improving the plight of HIV patients in the sub-county. Above all, she attributes the changes to ACORD for having given her the platform to interact with service providers in the sub-county that resulted into improvement in services delivery.
“I would wish ACORD continues with this programme and, if possible, reach to all parts of the sub-county.”