Zambia: “Providing Medical Treatment under a Privacy-Protected Environment” - New Medical Facilities for HIV/AIDS Patients

The spread of AIDS is serious in Zambia. AIDS was believed to have been a fatal disease before, but nowadays antiretroviral (ARV) medicine is available, which can control the development and aggravation of the symptoms provided that the medicine is taken religiously everyday.  However, many HIV-positive people and AIDS patients discontinue taking ARV medicine for if they are unwilling to disclose their status to their neighbors, or they wait before going to hospital with the false understanding that they are still healthy. With the goal of encouraging such people to take their medicine appropriately, AAR Japan has been training volunteers for ART (antiretroviral therapy) support and establishing medical facilities in various communities.

At Mount Makulu Clinic and Nangongwe Clinic in Lusaka Province, AAR Japan built ART Centers, where patients in need of medical treatment through antiretroviral medicine can consult a specialist under the privacy-protected environment. Yuki SAKURAI of AAR Japan residing in Zambia since October, 2013 reports:

100 People Participated in the Handover Ceremony of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Centers
A ceremony to handover the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Centers to the Health Department of Zambia was held on November 8, in which about 100 persons participated, including officials of the government of Zambia, doctors and nurses of the clinic, ART Support Project volunteers who work with AAR Japan, as well as local media and people from the communities. The ceremony started with welcome remarks by Chilanga District Commissioner, Edith MUWANA, followed by a presentation by Hiromi KAWANO, County Director of AAR Japan in Zambia, who discussed the past 30 years of AAR Japan’s activities in Zambia and the current state of its ongoing programs. The ART Support Project volunteers who are actively engaged in the project at Mount Makulu and Nangongwe were introduced to the participants.

AAR Japan’s Country Director in Zambia, Hiromi KAWANO, reported its activities in Zambia to the participants. (November 8th, 2013)

The ceremony was honored by the presence of Hideki YAMAJI, Charge d’Affaires ad interim at the Embassy of Japan in Zambia and Dr. Joseph KATEMA, Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, who addressed congratulatory remarks. It was followed by a speech of thanks by Albert MBUNJI on behalf of the ART Support Project volunteers. MBUNJI expressed his pleasure, saying “Those with HIV positive status have been facing various difficulties such as discrimination and prejudice. Thanks to the completion of ART Centers where the patients’ privacy is well protected, they are now able to receive treatment with a sense of relief.” He also explained his and his colleagues’ activities as the ART Support Project volunteers who assist each and every patient through making home visits.

Albert MBUNJI representing the volunteers. AAR Japan trains the ART Support Project volunteers to disseminate the importance of continued medical treatments to the patients through home visits and conduct counseling for the patients at the clinics.  (November 8th, 2013)
At the main entrance of Mount Makulu Clinic ART Center. From left, Edith MUWANA, District Commissioner, Dr. Joseph KATEMA, Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, and Hideki YAMAJI, Charge d’Affaires ad interim at the Embassy of Japan. (November 8th, 2013)
Overall view of Mount Makulu Clinic ART Center. The Center’s facilities include two counseling rooms, two examination rooms, a waiting room, a dispensary and a client data management room. (November 8th, 2013)

“No patient should be kept away from treatment because of discrimination and prejudice.”
A clinical officer at Mount Makulu Clinic, Elisha UWINZEYE, gladly talked about the Center:  “In the old hospital facilities, we couldn’t stock medicines for a long time because of high temperatures in summer. Since the newly constructed dispensary is equipped with air conditioner, we will be able to preserve them longer.” He added that “since the number of rooms were limited before, we had to keep patients waiting for a long time or send them to other clinics. As the new Center has more examination and counseling rooms, we can accept more patients.”  He enthusiastically talked about the clinic’s staff hopes that HIV-positive children can be provided with access to necessary medical treatment at appropriate times, and that no HIV-positive person is turned away from medical treatment because of discrimination and prejudice.

A clinical officer, Elisha UWINZEYE, at Mount Makulu Clinic. He is from Rwanda and had immigrated to Zambia as a refugee. (November 28th, 2013)

AAR Japan will create an environment in which HIV/AIDS patients can continue receiving treatment with a sense of relief, through the synergistic effect of the consultations at ART Centers where the patients’ privacy is well protected, and the counseling at waiting rooms and home by the ART Support Project volunteers.

The dispensary of Nangongwe Clinic ART Center is equipped with an air conditioner and able to keep medicines for a long time. Explaining about medicine is its staff member Alice KAPANGA.  (November 26th, 2013)

At newly set up patients’ data management room. Patient information, which had not been managed adequately before, will be registered in this room.  (November 26th, 2013)

* These activities are carried out with the support of many of your generous contributions, and the Government of Japan’s Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects.

Reporter (profile as of the date of the article)

Yuki SAKURAI       Staff Member, AAR Japan Zambia OfficeAfter graduating from university, he worked for a private foundation and studied peace studies at graduate school in the U.K. He then worked in Pakistan for an NGO and joined AAR Japan in April, 2012. He was responsible for the coordination of Tajikistan programs at Tokyo Headquarters Office.  Since October 2013, he is a resident staff of Zambia Office of AAR Japan.