By Elite Reporter
Ever since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic broke out in Uganda, several women and adolescent girls, plus people living with HIV/AIDS are suffering due to lack of access to contraceptives and Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARVs) respectively.
It should be noted that the government is currently undertaking a campaign to donate food and other social amenities to some Ugandans. However, whereas government’s efforts to donate posho and beans to Ugandans affected by the COVID-19 lockdown are appreciated, health practitioners observe that people with chronic diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and others that need periodic refills for drugs have been neglected.
In the same vein, women and adolescent girls who had enrolled on family planning methods were also ignored, since their access to contraceptives has since been cut off by the COVID-19 lockdown and because of the ban on local transport means many of them can longer move to health centres, clinics and pharmacies to get contraceptives.
The situation is even worse in most rural areas of the country, where most women were relying on family planning to mitigate the effects of poverty when combined with a big family.
As a result of this dire situation, a Nongovernment Organisation (NGO) called Enforcement of Patients and Health Workers Rights (EPHWOR), is taking family planning services and monthly refills for ARVs, cancer drugs and other medications to vulnerable women and girls in the districts of Ibanda, Mbarara, Buhweju, Sheema and Isingiro.
The exercise was started after members of EPHWOR observed that with the lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 and suspension of transport means most women had started missing their family planning pills and other monthly refills like ARVs and much more.
But now that EPHWOR has started the noble duty of doing door-to-door deliveries of these essential drugs, women and adolescent girls in Ibanda, Mbarara, Buhweju, Sheema and Isingiro districts have a reason to smile during this COVID-19 lockdown because of the offer made by the NGO.
We have established that EPHWOR, a team whose membership is composed of both Health workers and lawyers supported by Gobal Fund for Women, is delivering these essential drugs at their homes free of charge, with instructions from qualified doctors to patients on how to take the drugs.
We spoke to Dr Aruho Amon Kategaya, the Medical and Reproductive Health Consultant at EPHWOR, who said there can never be an opportune moment to help these rural women like this time.
Dr Aruho said that; “This initiative comes timely in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic and this will help women prevent from conceiving children by chance as Uganda makes important strides in the contraceptive Prevalence rate .
Enforcement of Patients and health Workers’ Rights (EPHWOR) is a women led non-governmental Organization, not for profit human rights enforcement organization established in 2017 duly registered with NGO board and NGO forum with Reg No. INDR13829939NB, permit No. INDP000939NB.
We empower duty bearers to uphold Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. We advocate and enforce rights of women, patients and health workers
EPHWOR is actively involved in programs geared towards enforcement and advocacy of women, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and patients’ rights in rural and urban areas of Uganda.