The Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP) has been implementing PEPFAR-supported HIV prevention, care and treatment services with MHRP since 2005. The Program has strengthened the capacity and infrastructure of local public and private health facilities in central Uganda to ensure sustainable, high-quality and comprehensive HIV services.
Working as PEPFAR’s lead implementing partner in Kayunga, Mukono, Buvuma and Buikwe districts, MUWRP services include Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision, PMTCT, HIV testing and counseling services, adult care and treatment, prevention, pediatric care and treatment and TB/HIV co-infection, among others. Additionally, HIV treatment and care services are implemented in the Kampala district.
MUWRP works with community-based partners to implement outreach services in partnership with village health care workers, expert clients, orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) caregivers in the community and DREAMS program beneficiaries including adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). The total target population in these MUWRP districts is more than 1.2 million persons. MUWRP also serves the fishing communities on and around Lake Victoria, a priority population in Uganda given their increased risk.
Making HIV Services More Accessible
MUWRP recently refurbished a health center for the hard-to-reach people of Koome archipelago, which comprises one large and 16 smaller islands on Lake Victoria. The facility will allow medical professionals to reside and work in the remote islands to provide comprehensive prevention, care and treatment services to approximately 22,000 inhabitants. HIV prevalence on Koome islands stands around 20%, which is two times higher than the national average. Island residents living with HIV will now have better access to HIV services available at the refurbished Health Centre.
Medical Male Circumcision Program
Medical male circumcision is a proven method to reduce the risk of HIV infection, and MUWRP has successfully expanded these services throughout the regions where they work. MUWRP partnered with Kayunga health authorities to implement Uganda’s first mobile, low-cost, non-research circumcision service program, providing service to hundreds of men often located in remote areas.
The Kayunga District Youth Recreational Centre provides adolescents living with HIV with daily counseling, clinic services and recreational activities. Additionally, the center’s vibrant community-based activities include district-wide youth outreach and mobile counseling and testing services at schools and other places where young people congregate. The center is a joint effort between MUWRP and the Kayunga District Health Authorities.
Economic Strengthening Programs
MUWRP provides economic strengthening interventions to households with orphans and vulnerable children and to adolescent girls and young women. These interventions include financial literacy training, savings groups, entrepreneurship training and microfinancing, agricultural training and support, and vocational training. Program participants have become financially independent by opening their own small businesses, including tea and coffee shops, garden plots, tailoring and hairdressing, among many other activities. As poverty is a critical risk factor for HIV infection and also for non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy, these economic strengthening activities provide a lifeline to vulnerable individuals and ultimately will contribute to the end of the HIV epidemic in Uganda.