Promoting Community Health - a worthwhile passion
The fishing communities in Eastern Uganda have for a long time experienced the impact of HIV and AIDS. The fight against the epidemic has long been hampered by the generally low level of awareness, high incidences of poverty, and unhelpful socio-cultural practices.
CAT (Combating AIDS Together) Crew is one of the key actors that have partnered with communities in addressing this challenge amongst the fishing population. It is part of the HIV Committee comprising Peace Corps Volunteers from the health, agribusiness, and education sectors within Peace Corps Uganda. The aim of CAT crew is to target priority districts with a training package that brings together all key stakeholders, including beneficiaries of HIV/AIDS programs, within the district for a better and more well-coordinated response addressing HIV/AIDS specifically for most at risk populations (MARPS). The training is usually facilitated by both Volunteers and external facilitators to foster collaboration and ensure sustainability.
After attending trainings organized by CAT crew, members of the fishing communities continue to work with social workers from the AIDS Information Centre (AIC) regional office for Eastern Uganda to educate the population on HIV prevention programs such as condom use. Titus, one of the fishermen trained by CAT crew, had this to say: “I simply have the heart of volunteerism towards community health and this is what I did after the CAT Crew training. It is a passion that has been boosted with much-needed skills and technical support."
For Titus and many like him, promoting community health is a worthwhile passion, the result of which has seen a decline in new infections arising from improved community awareness. The training he received from CAT crew helped in equipping Titus with the relevant knowledge and tools to drive the passion. Titus has since distributed about 9400 condoms to his colleagues and about 650 to members of his fishing village. He has also instructed 917 men and women on correct and consistent use of condoms. All his targets with AIC were successfully met.
As a result of his hard work and passion, AIDS Information Centre has asked him to lead the team that will soon travel to the northern part of Uganda to carry out educational campaigns.
“I am so thankful for the CAT Crew training,” says Titus. “It equipped me to be able to meaningfully help my fellow Ugandans live happier and healthier lives!”