PATRICK IN JINJA
"I’ve been working with the NGO Act For Africa for more than 10 years.
Act For Africa is a grassroots organisation and we’ve been serving some of the most vulnerable and poorest communities.
During a pandemic of this kind we are feeling very incapacitated as an organisation because we’ve fallen back on delivering what we would usually provide for those in need and those communities are the most affected as far as the pandemic is concerned."
"I lost both my parents to HIV and AIDS.
Having lost them to that disease resonates a lot with the nature of the work I do at the charity now.
At the time they died, there was a lack of information and a lot of stigma around the illness and it was not until I got to the age of 20 that I actually reflected on what they died from."
"There’s still a lot of unawareness and stigma in relation to the coronavirus.
People don’t know how to use the masks or when they’re supposed to be used. Covid patients being discharged from hospitals are not being accepted by their communities.
Some have been lynched within their communities due to the fear of being transmitters of coronavirus."
"I don’t think we’re prepared to handle a pandemic since we do not have a strong healthcare system.
With Ebola - which was a regional epidemic - we had other countries giving us grants to tackle it but now everything is on a standstill.
This has never happened, that’s the first one of its kind."
"My wife is a doctor and health specialist which helped me gain the necessary knowledge about coronavirus.
She has been giving me insight on what this pandemic is about and it was a privilege being privy to information and knowing how to take precautionary measures."
"There used to be a lot of stigma around HIV, which was exacerbated by ignorance.
People thought if they shook hands or shared a plate with an infected person, they would contract the HIV. There have been so many knowledge gaps.
My experiences with HIV and the insight on the medical profession are an opportunity to serve people and have an impact on their lives. One of the most important things for me to do is delivering that knowledge to people who do not have it. "
"We are so worried about the people in our communities, how do they come out of this?
First they’re grappling with the locusts, then coronavirus comes and then you have floods going on. "
"The livelihoods of people have been extremely affected. We have a pivotal role as an organisation to find strategies that can help our people get out of this. It's a full position that has given us a lot of time to reflect of how we can further and better build the communities we serve.
This is not the end we need to prepare ourselves for the eventuality of another pandemic."