The aim of IPASC’s HIV/AIDS programme is to slow down the spread of HIV/AIDS and to promote the welfare of persons living with HIV/AIDS in and beyond the territory of Aru. The programme organises various activities throughout the year:
Public awareness campaigns – Public awareness campaigns are run in schools, churches and on local radio stations. These allow us to encourage the community to come for early HIV testing which gives us the opportunity to give early treatment and to fight stigma and discrimination.
Counselling and Voluntary Testing – IPASC works with the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches as well as the Government and other organisations to offer testing for HIV and counselling for those who have tested positive.
Therapeutic Care of HIV/AIDS – IPASC helps those diagnosed with HIV to receive the necessary medical treatment. Each Person living with HIV/AIDS is taken, for their first time, to Arua Hospital (in Uganda) by an IPASC vehicle, where they receive opportunistic infection and anti-retroviral treatment (ARV). After their initial appointment, patients continue to travel to Arua on their own using one of the tenbicycles provided by IPASC.
We refer and follow-up patients in the newly established HIV-AIDS programme of Aru General Hospital for medical care (for ARV)
Home Visits– IPASC conducts home visits for those with HIV/AIDS. This allows us to follow patients up and check on their drugs, nutrition and general health and social situations and to identify any problems they might be experiencing. It also allows us the opportunity to advise and fight stigma and discrimination for the individual.
PLWHA Club – IPASC has organised monthly clubs for people living with HIV/AIDS and for those affected by it (families). These allow us to give teaching for better living practices, to help members acquire income generating skills, such as sewing, and allow members to share experiences with each other.
Food Aid to PLWHA – Good nutrition and food sufficiency are among the necessary conditions for PLWHA, in order to assure healthy living and good social integration. IPASC is able to distribute food to patients which is given to us by World Food Programme. This food is also distributed to orphansof HIV/AIDS.
Prevention and fight against sexual violence – Since the beginning of the war there has been an increase in the number of rapes in DR Congo and particularly in Ituri. Aru is not an exception but there has never been an appropriate organisation to help the victims. As IPASC is known for reproductive health and HIV/AIDS activities, one day three affected women were brought to us from Aru Town. We were able to air-lift them to Bunia (400 kms away) for the appropriate care. As time went on, more victims started arriving at IPASC seeking help. IPASC is now able to refer them to Arua Hospital, Uganda which is about 25 kms across the border from Aru.
We are also able to administer kits of necessary drugs (provided by MSF/France) to victims in emergencies.
We help rape victims get the appropriate care in order to prevent or limit the impact of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. We work in close cooperation with mothers’ groups and community members able to give advice and care and agents for identification of victims and those able to share information Training is given by IPASC for these groups of volunteers.
Prevention against fistula – Fistula is a big problem among women in DR Congo. It is often caused by home delivery without proper assistance and poor Caesarean Section techniques.
In order to overcome the problem, IPASC has organised the following activities:
Reinforcing the capacity of Adi Hospital, on the border with DR Congo, Uganda and Sudan, with public awareness campaigns and health education in villages and teaching the necessary skills to identifiy women at risk. Home visits of women with fistula is made by trainees using guidelines of care to be given
On behalf of victims, patients are helped to have repair surgery done by a specialist in Adi Hospital (the training of the specialist and surgical team having been initiated by IPASC and done in collaboration with UNDP
Home visits for follow-up of the victims who have been operated on is done by locally trained staff and IPASC staff and students
Training/Refresher courses for Health Professionals – Refresher courses, on antenatal and postnatal care and hygienic delivery, are given to traditional and trained midwives by our Safe Motherhood Programme with the support of Malteser (a German non governmental aid organisation).
Family Planning – Our Safe Motherhood Programme is very active in endeavouring to satisfy the numerous demands of couples with difficulties in having children and those seeking advice for family planning. With the support of the students from out training programmes, couples in Aru can be advised and encouraged to use contraceptive methods.
We also facilitate and refer couples, who are having difficuluty in conceiving, for specific tests and appropriate care.
Promotion of Primary Health Care:
There are two objectives of this department:
- To serve the community
- To provide field training of our students so that they can gain practical experience and master processes of the promotion of primary health
Roll Back Malaria – Malaria is at the top of the list for morbidity and mortality causes in the population of Aru.
The department tackles this problem in two main activities: Public Awareness Campaigns and making accessible the sale of insecticide treated mosquito nets.
We carry out awareness campaigns in public places (schools, health centres, churches …) and on the local radio station, aiming to encourage the community to clean up the environment and use insecticide treated nets and we are now distributing training manuals on malaria to primary and secondary school pupils.
Safe Water – IPASC actively promotes and educates communities about the need for safe water supplies in order to reduce water borne diseases including polio, hepatitis, cholera, dysentery and typhoid.
Part of IPASC’s work is to encourage community involvement in the construction of safe water sites to allow access and ownership of the projects.