Effective 2019, Edu Child Foundation Uganda commenced the implementation of the community health program that is aimed at promoting sustainable community health practices (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene – WASH) that contribute to healthy living the reduction of preventable, communicable diseases, and restore copying mechanism of the affected members of the community. This program is already being implemented in the communities of Goli, Ayomo, Jupangira, and Pawong where ECFUG operates.
Through BHCP, Edu Child Foundation Uganda is scaling up efforts in the fight against communicable diseases by supporting expanded access to comprehensive prevention, care, treatment, and support services for children, women, and families affected, with a special focus on the vulnerable rural communities with a high burden of disease and/or low coverage.
Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Globally, significant progress has been made in improving access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for children and their families. Between 1990 and 2012, 2.3 billion people gained access to improved drinking water, and almost 2 billion people gained access to improved sanitation. The incidence of the most harmful practices in terms of human health and dignity – such as open defecation and the use of untreated surface water – is decreasing. Despite the significant achievements made to date, the challenges in the sector remain daunting: some 2.5 billion people still do not have access to improved sanitation, and 1 billion people practice open defecation.
Poor hygiene practices and lack of access to handwashing facilities continue to threaten the health of many communities. A total of 748 million people remain without access to improved water supply, and there is evidence that even some improved water sources are sometimes contaminated. Access to facilities and services is inequitable: serious disparities exist, by wealth, gender, ethnicity, and geographic location. Water is life except when it becomes contaminated. Polluted water acts as a vessel for diseases such as cholera, malaria, trachoma, and parasites. In East Africa, long and dangerous treks to find clean water cause strain on communities.
Promoting hygiene is a core component of the Edu Child Foundation Uganda’s core programming. Our Initiatives include direct engagement with households, Participation in the Global Handwashing Day (GHD), and engagement in sanitation campaigns in the communities we serve.
In the future, we also hope to lobby for funding to enable us to provide clean water sources such as boreholes, spring tanks, rainwater harvesting facilities, and shallow wells, and Bio water filters within the reach of members of the communities we serve. By implementing clean water projects, we hope to relieve those burdens and achieve long-term engagement with the communities creating the building blocks to the foundation for sustainable transformation. Through the WASH program, Edu Child Foundation Uganda works towards building healthy societies in the geographical areas of our operation.
Reproductive rights and Communicable Diseases
In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria kills more people than any other communicable disease, followed by AIDS. HIV/AIDS, on the other hand, has become the most devastating global epidemic the world has ever faced. At the end of 2001, an estimated 40 million people globally were infected with HIV. Over 5 million people are newly infected each year and more than 6 thousand lives are lost every day to the disease. Despite significant progress over the last decade, HIV remains a considerable global challenge. Children across the globe continue to suffer a disproportionate burden of HIV morbidity and mortality. In 2017, children under 15 years of age accounted for 6% of the total people living with HIV globally and 11% of total AIDS-related deaths. In 2015, AIDS was the fourth most frequent cause of death among girls aged 10-14 years globally, and the fourth most common cause of death among all 10-19-year-olds in African low- and middle-income countries. Children and adolescents continue to be underserved by services across the HIV treatment cascade. Of the 2.1 million children aged under 15 years living with HIV, only 43% have access to ART, compared to 54% of adults aged 15 years and over. Despite improvements in pediatric treatment options, children aged under 15 years continue to have lower viral suppression rates compared to adults aged 15 years and above. Similarly, low early infant diagnosis (EID) coverage and linkage to care rates continue to pose significant threats to the infant, child, and adolescent health and survival.
Edu Child Foundation Uganda, therefore, hopes to be at the forefront in the fight against communicable diseases by supporting expanded access to comprehensive prevention, care, treatment, and support services for children, women, and families affected, with a special focus on communities with a high burden of disease and/or low coverage. ECFU engages its activities in close partnership with governments, local organizations, communities, and other stakeholders, developing and implementing sustainable, replicable, facility- and community-based approaches that can be taken to scale. Our HIV & AIDS Strategy for 2019 – 2022 focuses on three programmatic priorities;
Eliminate pediatric HIV infection through promoting the Global strategy for ending AIDS and by implementing the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (E/PMTCT) services to pregnant women and babies;
Identify HIV infected children and provide treatment, care, and support services to infected and affected children; and
Provide comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services to adolescents, focusing on HIV-positive adolescents, adolescent girls, and women.
Community Medical Camps
Edu Child Foundation Uganda also implements community medical camp activities in partnership with Essential Medical Outreach & Treatment Rescue (EMOTER); a local Ugandan Medical Group consisting of a team consists of Medical Professionals, including Doctors, Physicians, Medical Lab Technologists, Nurses, Pharmacists plus support Records assistants, and Other Health Workers; who are committed to providing mobile medical services for communities in hard-to-reach/remote places in the country. Since March 2020, ECFUG has continued to organize and Medical camps for the greater Nebbi community and has since served over 20,000 people. Through the BHC Program, ECFUG is committed to serving rural communities that are most in need, due to the long distance they have to journey to get medical services. Our medical teams provide free medical consultations, immunization services, basic laboratory tests, prevention services, and medication to encourage healthy living and ensure the longevity of life for those we serve.
Under our effort to build healthy communities, ECFUG regularly organizes community service days, a day set aside to clean homes and other dwelling spaces as a way of promoting good sanitation and hygiene. Through community service, we involve our staff, our sponsored children along with their parents/guardians, and stakeholders of communities to be served in which we spend the day engaged in general cleanliness of the entire spaces identified – clearing bushy compound, removing trashes, plus sweeping and mopping the spaces, wherever applicable.
Through the WASH program, we try to engage our beneficiaries and communities we serve in the practice of healthy living habits. The community service act alone has over the years instilled a strong belief in our beneficiaries that, they too have something to offer – using their time and energy towards positively building their communities. It is always one of our best ways to end the month.