Enabling Global AIDS Prevention and Preventative Care Initiatives
Although it is considered essential in more developed regions of the world, the integration of clinical services, training, and research is still unusual in African health institutions. IDI’s clinical services were principally designed as a critical support function to ensure the quality of its training and research programs. Today the IDI clinic is an essential and life-saving community resource.
Prevention, Care and Treatment Services
There is a high demand for high quality HIV/AIDS services in the Kampala community. When the IDI clinic opened its doors in 2004 the demand rapidly pushed the patient load near the clinic’s capacity of 10,000 registered patients in less than a year. Today, the IDI clinic provides HIV/AIDS services to over 300 patients each day. With the support of PEPFAR and the Global Fund, the clinic treats more than 8,000 active patients, and provides lifesaving antiretroviral therapy to more than 4,000 patients. The clinic is staffed by Uganda’s best and brightest physicians and clinical officers, and IDI’s counselors focus on encouraging disclosure and optimizing prevention behavior with patients.
IDI is a genuine center of tertiary care, specializing in complicated HIV/AIDS cases that other facilities often do not have the resources or skills to address. With state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, IDI is able to more carefully monitor treatment protocols, which reduces the potential emergence of drug resistance. IDI seeks to play a distinctive role within an effective referral system for Uganda and the region, with associated information systems which focus both on individuals and service providers. IDI has recently teamed with Uganda’s two largest teaching hospitals on a PEPFAR-funded initiative to build capacity and effective systems at individual clinics throughout the region.
The Creativity Initiative
IDI recognizes the opportunity to mobilize an important asset in the fight against HIV/AIDS: the people and communities most affected by the disease. The Creativity Initiative equips individuals to have a greater impact on health outcomes within their own communities.
The Creativity Initiative provides leaders of vulnerable communities with powerful prevention messages, encouraging them to act as advocates in their urban neighborhoods and villages. It communicates the importance of prompt treatment and strict adherence to available therapies – more important than ever since the advent of antiretroviral therapies. The Creativity Initiative also provides training in family economics and support to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Most importantly, this is an initiative by and for people living with HIV/AIDS – and the emphasis is on living. The Creativity Initiative’s important objectives are accomplished in ways that genuinely brighten the daily lives of IDI patients, now called “Friends”, and of those who know them. Through this exciting endeavor, Friends join with volunteers to develop creative communities within the clinic. They sing and dance, draw and paint, impart entrepreneurial and life skills, share testimonies, and provide spiritual and social support. Individual empowerment and community engagement are transforming how people are living with AIDS today.