Implementing the right to health of women on antiretroviral therapy: a case of reach out Mbuya HIV/AIDS initiative in Uganda.
Aboot, Susan Caroline
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The study set out to assess how Reach Out Mbuya HIV/AIDS Initiative implements the right to health for women on ART, in light of national and international guidelines. Particularly the study focused on international and national guidelines on the right to health for women on ART; services provided by RO; achievements of RO; and challenges faced by RO in implementing the right to health of women on ART. The study was conducted at all three sites of RO: Mbuya Hill Reach Out's main operation; kireka; and banda. A sample of 80 respondents and 24 key informants was selected and interviewed with structured questionnaires and interview guides. This included participation of women accessing ART at RO. The study revealed that the implementation of ART for women by Reach Out is very adequate considering the very high and steadily increasing demand. The organization, through a holistic approach provides more than just drugs for the women, but encompasses a comprehensive array of care and support including: clinical care, psychological support, participation of women on ART at RO, and respect for health rights. This fulfills the requirements of many human rights instruments that define the right to health as encompassing other determinants. The study established that through the implementation of various programs, RO ensures respect of human rights as is outlined in their guidelines. It showed that Reach Out provides ART in conformity with national and international guidelines for implementation of ART. The organization mainly follows the: National guidelines for Implementation of Antiretroviral Therapy, 2003; Antiretroviral Treatment Policy for Uganda, 2003. These have been merged with aspects of the WHO guidelines on ART to come up with a framework followed by the organization. Conclusively, RO observes both international and national guidelines on the right to health of women on ART. However, the study established that RO dose not have a linkage with police and the courts of law, hence recommended that interventions like establishing and improving linkages among the health, law enforcement, legal, and community service sectors for delivery of a coordinated response to sexual and domestic violence survivors were vital to ensure the situation of the women on ART. There is need for RO to link up with the private sector on issues of funding and sustainability.