Of the seven Ugandans who founded Nyimbwa Multi Purpose Organization of People Living With HIV/AIDS (NYIMUPHAS) in 2003 after testing HIV positive, only three are still alive.
Yet the three have carried on the mantle of this organization, building it to the strength of 523 members. Of these, 126 are males while 397 are females. Among these, there are also 657 orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), 341 of whom are female and 316 male.
To date, NYIMUPHAS stands out to the challenge of HIV/AIDS by responding to the cases and consequences like poverty and ignorance.
Kizito Muteo, project coordinator of NYIMUPHAS, said: “As persons living with HIV/AIDS, our role is to prevent further spread of HIV and tackle the adverse social economic effects through supporting self-help projects. We are committed to mobilise people living with HIV/AIDs to solve their own problems and live positively.
“NYIMUPHAS is proud of having 28 Network Support Agents (NSAs) and managing 12 sub groups of Persons Living with HIV.”
Musisi Abdallah Zziwa, the chairperson of NYIMUPHAS, added: “We carryout many activities and these include referral and follow up, home based care, improving water and sanitation, and relief support to people living with HIV/AIDS. We also provide micro loans, nutritional support, and education to the girl child, and construct houses [and] granaries for the OVC section. In addition, we do human rights advocacy of PLWHAS [people living with HIV/AIDS], orphans, the elderly, disabled children and widows.”
Achievements of NYIMUPHAS are that they have:
- Managed to acquire a permanent office premise, two motorcycles, two bicycles and other office equipment
- Fully supported the education of 11 girl children in senior secondary schools and tertiary schools
- Built four model houses for grandmothers caring for OVCs
- Constructed four rain water harvest tanks for grandmothers caring for OVCs – this has saved the women from walking long distances in search for water that is not clean.
- Reached over 80 people living with HIV with a micro loan scheme, which has boosted their small enterprises and helped others to initiate viable income generation activities
- Sensitized more than 30,000 people on HIV/AIDS, TB and voluntary counselling and testing
- Created awareness in maternal, newborn and child health with support from the International HIV AIDS Alliance Uganda
- Promoted prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT), family planning, antenatal care, safe male circumcision and condom use
- Enabled people in their organization to feel free to share their HIV status without fear, which helps in survival confidence
- Enabled antiretroviral adherence, which is now high among the members of the organization and the communities where they work; this has helped to prolong the lives of people living with HIV
About the challenges, Musisi Abdallah Zziwa notes that: “There are children who are now 17 years old and soon they will become adults. These children are HIV positive and when they grow up, they will need to marry or get married. The scenario here is that, should they marry somebody who is HIV positive or they should get a person that is HIV negative?
“We are also faced with the overwhelming number of people who need our services and we cannot stretch out ourselves that far. For example, the grandmothers have poor housing, poverty and water shortages. There are so many OVCs, especially vulnerable girls who need to attain education. We can just assist a few of them.”
Dong John, a teacher from Kalule, who has benefited from NYIMUPHAS’ work, said: “From the credit facility I got from NYIMUPHAS, I have managed to support my business, which sells soft drinks. The capital I was given has almost tripled. The number of my customers has also increased. This is better than the banks because the time frame given to me to repay the loans is friendly. We have also benefited from counselling sessions and I am living a happier life. There are times when we are given supplies like sugar, soap, maize which keep us going.”
Another beneficiary, farmer Nakaweesi Marria, notes: “From this organization, I have got many friends. It is important to have friends who are going through similar experience and challenges. Knowing each other and how we address problems keep us strong, especially when we would be so lonely. The challenges we have are the orphans who are very many. We can feed them and dress them, but the cost of their education for parents who have lost a colleague is a great challenge.”
The groups for which NYIMUPHAS provides mentorship are Bajjo, Bugayo, Bukeeka, Kisule, Nyimbwa, Asiika obulamu, Nsawo, Bombo hope, Bombo women, Butanza, Wobulenzi and Makulubita.
The health facilities where NYIMUPHAS works are Nyimbwa HC IV, Kikoma HCIII,Makulubita HCIII, Nsawo HCIII, Katikamu HCIII, Namaliga HCIII,Nakatonya HCIII, Bombo military hospital, Sambwe HCII, Bombo T.C HCIII, Ndejje University HCIII, Bukalasa HCIII and Kasozi HCIII.