AHA Programmes (2000 – Present)
- Capacity Development
- Health Care
- Food and Nutrition
- Relief and Recovery
Protection and Assistance
Since 1994, AHA has provided lifesaving assistance to displaced populations and vulnerable communities throughout the country. Based at the Kiziba Refugee Camp, the Kibuye Health Project and the Kigali Urban Project, our interventions focus on improving the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.
Healthcare: AHA has continued to deliver a high standard of curative and preventative health services. During 2007, AHA’s service reached out to more than 23,000 individuals at our Health Centre in Kiziba Camp, consultation clinic in Kigali, and surgical Unit at Kibuye Hospital. Recently we have worked vigorously to optimize our provision of care, ensuring that Reproductive Health Services and the Tuberculosis Control Programme are fully integrated into the health delivery system and to strengthen the existing Malaria Programme. Amongst other things we have also extended our services to include eye care, voluntary counseling and testing and preventing mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS. Such efforts have been well rewarded with improved health standard indicators across the board, including reduced morbidity and mortality rates from common diseases.
Since the end of 2006 when AHA launched a new ‘Urban Refugee Programme’ which aims at addressing the health needs of refugees in Kigali, we have continued our health and community services, support to primary and secondary education and management of medical case referrals from all camps in Rwanda
AHA’s provision of nutritional services in Kiziba Camp and the surrounding areas has led to a marked improvement in the nutritional status of the population and in particular children. Our supplementary and therapeutic feeding centres have assisted malnourished children, pregnant women, breast feeding mothers and other identified vulnerable groups in gaining essential nutritional support. The under 5 clinic, established to monitor immunisation and screen for malnutrition, has been especially successful, achieving 100% vaccination coverage against measles and 99.7% against other antigens. Quick malnutrition status screening conducted by AHA during this period shows only 1.3% of children under 5 to be malnourished.
The disease continues to be a major killer in Rwanda, with a prevalence rate of 3% throughout the country and 7% in urban areas. Risks are exacerbated in a refugee/displaced persons setting, where social, community and family norms that govern sexual behavior are disrupted. In such situations powerlessness, poverty and social instability all contribute to the fast spread of the disease.
Since 2003 in Kiziba refugee camp 70 out of the 2,114 people tested for HIV/AIDS have proved to be positive. In this context AHA continues to provide people with a full spectrum of HIV/AIDS services, focusing on prevention, care and treatment, capacity development, advocacy and coordination. To ensure that these services are fully integrated throughout all sectors of the Kabiza camp, a multi-sectoral committee has been created, comprising of members from a cross-section of the community, relevant organisations and interested parties.
World AIDS Day presents an excellent opportunity to stress important information and in 2007 we focused people’s attention on, “THE FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY VIS A VIS THE CHILDREN IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV AND AIDS” The day was marked by tree planting around the camp, official speeches, drama performances, poetry readings, the launch of a new People Living With Aids project, and much celebrated musical performance by the ‘Wake Up Group’.
For people living with AIDS (PLWAs), AHA works to provide excellent healthcare and treatment, addressing their needs in a holistic manner. Services include counseling, home visits, referral for treatment, follow up care and support. An income generating programme aims at motivating PLWAs to work towards ensuring food security, boosting self-reliance, and adherence to anti retroviral-therapy. Further, a recent exchange visit with another refugee camp enabled PLWAs and AHA staff to discuss ideas and share best practices.
Information, Education and Communication:
Recent activities have seen us working hard to strengthen our provision of information, education and communication. The keys to achieving this are AHA’s Community Health Workers and Peer Educators, all of whom are elected from the local/camp populations. They work within their individual communities to raise awareness, sensitize and educate people on important issues. Activities have included campaigns, awareness sessions, workshops, focus groups, discussions, forums, and educational entertainment. In addition we have produced outreach materials, opened a public resource centre and given support to a number of anti-AIDS clubs. In 2006 the youth anti-AIDS club ‘Wake Up’ was assisted in the creation of a music album, carrying important messages about the disease. The album was widely disseminated and popularly received. Regular health education sessions were held before the start of consultations. There were 846 sessions and 3973 attendants. Topics included diarrhea with special emphasis on cholera, harmful traditional practices including traditional tonsillectomy, RTI, best use of relief food in the context of prevention of malnutrition, malaria, tuberculosis, STDs, HIV and AIDS, SGBV, VCT, ANC and family planning, personal and environmental hygiene and immunization.
In all of our work, AHA aims to develop the capacities of communities, empowering people to affect positive change and achieve sustainable results. To such ends we run the ‘ensuring access to a full spectrum of HIV and AIDS services in Rwanda, providing support and training for AHA staff, volunteers and members of the community. Sessions have been extended to, and actively encouraged the participation of, home based care-givers, religious leaders, women and youth representatives, medical staff, community health workers, PLWAs, peer educators and teachers.
Recognising that children hold the key to the future, AHA has developed a youth programme which specifically targets young people for sensitization. In the programme we address issues surrounding reproductive health; sexuality, the human body during puberty, sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, SGBV, abstinence, and safe sex. Activities have brought young people together with their peers, anti-aids clubs and teachers to explore the subject matter through discussion, film, drama, song and poetry.
Sexual & Gender Based Violence:
Cognizant of the devastating personal and socio-economic impacts of SGBV, AHA has made the issue a top strategic priority at both prevention and response. As a preventive measure, in 2007, we took the lead in mobilizing a working group on SGBV and providing training to numerous relevant partners, including refugee and community members. We raise awareness of the topic by ensuring that SGBV be included in the school curriculum and running a campaign against gender-based violence. At the same time, AHA has continued to provide medical and psychological support to those affected by SGBV as a responsive measure.
For more information about AHA Rwanda, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org